Saturday 2 December 2006

Bad Health, Bad Wealth

An article in the NYT discusses the costs of being overweight - not just on your health but in cold, hard cash. For example, an extra 36 grams of fat tissue is estimated to add to future medical costs in the order of $6.64 for an obese man and $3.46 for an obese woman.

Moreover, research has shown that employers discriminate against overweight people - probably because they do not want to be burdened with higher health insurance costs, or possibly just because they believe the obese are lazy, weak-willed or considered too unattractive to interact with customers. Reaerch by John H. Cawley, of Cornell University, found that a weight increase of 64 pounds above the average for white women was associated with 9 percent lower wages.

The obese accumulate only about half the assets of the normal-size American - for every one-point increase in BMI index, net worth dropped by $1,000. The typical female baby boomer earns $313.70 less annually for every one-point increase in her B.M.I., while the typical male earns $161.30 less for every point.

So, another reason for me to reach my goal of achieving an "ideal" BMI of between 21 and 24.

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