Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Your Weight Loss Success Affects State of Health and Wallet

Are you healthy? How about your state? How does your health affect your state? Conversely, how does your state's health rate affect you? Will your weight loss success save you money?

According to a recent article by, the New England states rank amongst the healthiest, while those in the South rank the lowest. In fact, of the top 5 states (in health terms) 3 are in New England.
5 Healthiest States
1. Vermont
2. Utah
3. Massachusetts
4. Hawaii
5. New Hampshire

What goes into determining a state's health rank? Here is what Forbes' says (emphasis mine):
This annual ranking, published by the United Health Foundation, looks at 22 indicators of health, including everything from how many children receive recommended vaccinations, to obesity and smoking rates, to cancer deaths. (Insurer UnitedHealth Group funds the foundation.) Scores for each state are determined by gathering data from a variety of government and nongovernmental databases and then calculating how much each state is better or worse than the national average for each measure.
Of particular interest to me is the data on obesity and costs associated to obesity. So often we think that obesity only affects us...after all, we aren't subjecting others to second hand smoke...if we overeat then we are only affecting ourselves, right?

Well, of course we are also modeling behavior for our children (if we have them), but obesity does affect others from a cost standpoint. I'm not going to tell you to lose weight because it will save your state, or your neighbor, or even you, money...but it is something that we tend to not think about. It doesn't hurt to have some awareness of it.

Why would my being fat cost anyone money? For one thing, being extremely overweight leads to wear and tear on our bodies...which can mean more surgeries on knees, hips and feet. It can also lead to lower immune systems and more aches and pains--possibly leading to more doctor visits and/or time off work.

It is estimated that out of our 2003 health care dollars spent nationally, almost $75 billion was obesity related...and about 1/2 of that money was provided by public in tax money! In 10 years, the amount we will spend on obesity related health care costs is projected to be over $340 billion!

Like anything, these are generalities...there are many people who are pretty darned healthy despite being overweight. However, being overweight will add physical stress to your joints, so you may be relatively healthy...but certainly not your healthiest...and you may not see the affects for years.

I was very active and rather healthy for my 300lb size for example...but I had 3 knee surgeries. Sure I had insurance and I paid my portion of the costs...but more surgeries leads to more expenses for the insurer...and can lead to higher rates overall.

No one individual is affecting our insurance rates...but the healthier we ALL are, the lower our costs should be (not being in the insurance industry I'm not going to venture a guess on how this would actually affect those rates!)--if for no other reason than we just don't have to go to the doctor as much! When we eat better, our overall health is better. Our immune system is stronger, too. These are great reasons to eat better--for our health! When we focus on our health, then we will be more apt to lose weight naturally and with a whole lot less pressure and stress than when we diet for our appearance. Losing weight for health is a long-term process, not a short-term event.

So how does your state's ranking affect you? It is probably an indication of what kind of health care is available as well as what you & your neighbors are doing about your health. This could mean that your costs, either for insurance or taxes, may be higher than a state with a healthier rank.

Before everyone decides to move to Vermont, realize the most important impact you can make to your health, including weight loss success, and your wallet is within your control. You can make small changes that will greatly effect your health--no matter where you live. Don't try to do it all at once...and don't make foods off limits...that's called dieting...and diets don't work!

Instead, start with your mind...fill it with healthy and loving thoughts. Care for your body because you deserve health...this will lead to a healthy, energetic, slender body, and just maybe a fatter wallet!

Like statistics?

Click to see where your state ranks.

To see more about America's health rankings, including ranking by measure or by state, or to get the full report, click here.

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