Friday 30 May 2008

I want to Lose weight and Gain income

A recent meta-study confirmed what many overweight and obese workers probably suspect - that they are discriminated against in the workplace. The meta-analysis of 25 studies showed that obesity could lower a woman's annual earnings by as much as 6.2% and a man's by as much as 2.3% - and that's if you manage to get past the job interview. However, the statistics also show that employers have good reason to be wary of employing obese workers. One study showed that between 1997 and 2004, obese workers filed twice the number of workers' compensation claims, had seven times the medical costs and lost 13 times the days of work from work injury or illness compared with other employees. And the study of 11,000 Duke University employees found that the average medical-claims costs per 100 employees amounted to $US51,019 for the obese, compared with $US7,503 for the non-obese. That's an extra $435.16 in medical costs per obese worker. So in one sense the lower annual earnings for obese workers are largely offset by extra medical benefits from being employed.

Even if being overweight doesn't directly reduce your income, the extra calories required to maintain a higher BMI cost considerable amounts of money. For example, when I last changed jobs nearly ten years ago I had been eating a healthy diet and regularly going to the gym for a couple of years. My BMI was around 24 - probably the best it had been since High School. Since then my weight gradually crept back up until my BMI was back into the obese range (around 31) the past couple of years. And although I'd stopped going to the gym since changing jobs (it was no longer conveniently located on the way home from work, and I had less time available once we started our family), I think most of this weight gain was simply due to eating too much junk food. The core of my diet is still the same as when my BMI was under 25, but I'd started snacking on confectionery in the afternoons and eating ice cream for dessert almost every day. This year I'm attempting to stick to my basic, healthy diet plan and get some regular exercises - but I quite regularly lapse into eating some extra junk food. For example, the confectionery and ice cream I ate yesterday cost around $8.80 and added an extra unwanted 1,200 calories. If I did this every day for a year it would cost me over $3,200 and add around 65 kg to my weight! Fortunately today I've avoided ANY junk food (so far), and went for a 45-minute walk at lunchtime. One day down, 364 to go (again)...

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1 comment:

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