Thursday, April 22, 2010

If You Don't Lose Weight Your Finances Will

“You have to admire Michelle Obama for taking on an issue that can turn off millions of Americans, who themselves are overweight. From better food labels to more money for healthier foods in schools, the First Lady is taking on the issue with a vengeance, tackling the problem from many corners. But there's another, big reason that each and every parent should get rid of excess weight and teach their kids good eating habits: our financial futures. Now, mind you, I love good things. People call me a foodie. But I try to battle the bulge with modifications here and there and a lot of exercise. As a friend once said, echoing my thoughts, ‘I exercise so that I can have dessert.’ So if you're wondering if you should put your kids on a diet -- even if you can't seem to tighten your own belt -- then consider these costs that will add to their financial security - or lack of it - over time:
Illness: According to a Rand study, obese people spend 36% more on health services than people who are normal weight -- everything from co-pays to prescription drugs. That's no surprise. Overweight and obese people tend to suffer from a higher incidence of chronic disease, including musculoskeletal disorders. The result? "Recovery from any given injury or illness is likely to be more difficult and more expensive than for normal-weight individuals," says Claire Wilkinson, director of global insurance issues for the Insurance Information Institute. That means more physical therapy, more time off the job and higher medical bills overall.
Life insurance; Looking to protect your kid if something happens to you? It'll cost you more if you're heavy. The longer you're likely to live, the lower the chance that an insurance company will have to make a payout on a claim. Obese people live on average 7 years less, so life insurers have to account for such differences in their underwriting. "For this reason, life insurance for overweight and obese people generally costs more than for normal-weight people," says Wilkinson. "Insurance companies take into account a lot of different factors when they're quoting you with a rate," she adds. "Things like family history, healthy weight, and whether you exercise regularly may enable you to qualify for a more favorable rate class." In group life insurance plans, while age, smoking and even gender can impact rates to individuals, obesity isn't used as a factor, at least not yet.”

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