By Jonathon Stavres PhD, ACSM-EP-C
The concept of being fit, losing weight, or eating right is generally attributed to a person’s desire to look and feel good. This cause-and-effect relationship certainly does exist, and very well might be the primary motivator for a large number of people who take on a fitness goal. However, being healthy does more than just make you look and feel better. It is also cost-effective.
Type II diabetes is costly- annual cost $13,700 per patient
Type II diabetes is a condition characterized by abnormally high blood glucose levels, and the impaired ability for the body to respond to hyperglycemia- (high glucose levels).
It is well-documented that excess body mass and BMI are risk factors for Type II diabetes. Based on the CDC, 30.3 million American’s have diabetes, 90-95% of which are cases of Type II diabetes (CDC, 2017).
This disease incurred a national cost of approximately $245 billion in 2012, with an average annual cost of $13,700 per patient (direct cost of $7,900). In contrast, individuals without diabetes incurred an average yearly medical cost of 2.3 times less than their counterparts with diabetes. Some of these associated costs include doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, or emergency visits.
Exercise to combat diabetes
One way to combat diabetes is to exercise and eventually lose weight. Exercise works acutely by increasing blood glucose consumption and can act as its own form of treatment.
In fact, exercise is so effective that it is recommended to avoid taking antiglycolytic drugs (i.e. metformin) immediately before or after exercise so that patients don’t experience a dangerous drop in blood glucose.
Losing weight over time also benefits diabetics by improving insulin sensitivity, making the body more efficient at controlling blood glucose levels.
Coronary heart disease costly- national cost $555 billion
Another condition that incurs a significant medical cost is coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD is caused by plaque building up in the coronary artery, which can eventually lead to lack of blood flow to the heart and a heart attack. Also according to the CDC, approximately 735,000 American’s have heart attacks every year, and CHD results in approximately 370,000 deaths annually.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA, 2017), the national cost for heart attacks in 2016 was $555 billion, which is projected to increase to $1.1 trillion by 2035. The cost to a single household if someone were to suffer a heart attack is difficult to estimate.
Some of the personal costs would include higher health insurance premiums, out of pocket deductibles for doctor’s visits and pharmaceuticals, out of pocket costs for rehabilitation, lost wages if time is taken off of work, and more.
It is easy to tell that this condition can carry a significant financial burden. However, it is also very preventable. Proper nutrition and exercise can prevent CHD, and even help manage existing CHD.
Chronic diseases carry a debilitating financial burden
These are just two examples of chronic diseases that can carry a debilitating financial burden. The cost of these kinds of diseases are seldom considered when people are deciding whether or not to buy a fitness club membership, or substitute an evening dinner with friends for an evening workout. However, these choices can have significant physical, and financial implications.
Consider a $50 per month fitness club membership as an insurance policy; one that may save you from paying far more than that in the future.
American Heart Association CVD Burden Report, 2017. Cardiovascular disease: A Costly Burden for America- Projections Through 2035. Found at: http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@adv/documents/downloadable/ucm_491543.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017: Estimates of Diabetes and Its Burden in the United State. 2017. Found at: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/data/statistics/national-diabetes-statistics-report.pdf
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