One of the main factors people look at when deciding if they want to start exercising and eating healthy is cost. How much is a gym membership going to cost me each month? How much time will it cost me each day to workout or meal prep? What people don’t look at is how much will it cost you NOT to workout and NOT fuel your body properly.
Annual health care costs are rising and there are no indicators to show this changing anytime soon. Both private and public spending is anticipated to rise by an average of 5.5% each year over the NEXT DECADE. One of the fastest growing components of healthcare expenditures in the U.S are prescription drugs prescribed by your primary care doctor. 80% of primary care doctors visits could be eliminated by healthy lifestyle choices.
We know that exercising regularly and eating properly can help individuals maintain a healthy weight and prevent disease. Not exercising and choosing to follow the Standard American Diet (which is sad this is considered the Standard) of processed meats, pre-packaged foods, butter, fried foods, refined grains, high sugar, etc. will likely cause weight gain and chronic illness.
Let’s look at a few facts from the World Health Organization and American Diabetes Association:
- Around ⅓ of deaths from cancer are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high Body Mass Index), low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use.
- Cardiovascular diseases are the number ONE cause of death and most can be prevented by addressing behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.
- The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. Healthy diet (limiting sugar intake), regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
- People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of $16,752 per year, of which about $9,601 is attributed to diabetes.
- On average, people with diagnosed diabetes have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.
There is a common theme in preventing many of these costly diseases; physical activity. Physical activity can help prevent disease which will in turn LOWER COSTS by less doctor visits, less prescription drugs, and MORE time to spend with family and friends.
So, the next time you think about the cost of exercising, first think of the cost not exercising.