Losing weight can save you thousands of dollars every year, a study claims.
Risk of developing heart disease, diabetes or cancer increases in someone who is overweight or obese, which then adds to the amount they spend on health care.
The researchers found that a 50-year-old who decreased their body mass index by more than five points would save an average of $36,278 because they lessened the risk of developing one of the above conditions.
Health experts say people can save thousands of dollars, especially when they are aged 50, if they lose weight because they don't have to treat obesity-related conditions.
Losing weight can help someone save money because they decrease the amount spent on medication. A higher body mass index increases the risk of someone developing diabetes or cardiovascular disease. By losing weight, people tend to spend less money on medications
Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, studied the correlation between body mass index (BMI) and how much someone paid for health care every year.
They found that people can save thousands of dollars if they have a lower body mass index because they didn't need medication or procedures for obesity related conditions.
Someone is considered at a healthy weight if their BMI is less than 25.
If the BMI is between 25 to 30 that person is overweight and higher than 30 means that person is obese.
The findings, published in the journal Obesity, showed that a 20-year-old person who goes from being obese to overweight, a BMI of more than 30 to less than 30, would save on average $17,655.
If that person went from being obese to a healthy weight, a BMI of more than 30 to less than 25, then they would save an average of $28,020 instead of going towards medical expenses.
The amount people saved peaked at the age of 50 with an average of $36,278 in savings if they went from obese to a healthy weight.
Researchers found these expenses included a decrease in medical expenses and an increase in productivity by the person.
'Over half the costs of being overweight can be from productivity losses, mainly due to missed work days but also productivity losses. This means that just focusing on medical costs misses a big part of the picture, though they're a consideration, too,' said Dr Bruce Y. Lee, executive director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins, to Medical Xpress.
'Productivity losses affect businesses, which in turn affects the economy, which then affects everyone,' he said.
The researchers analyzed people aged 20 to 80 in order to find out if every group saw a decrease in costs if they were at a healthy weight.
They discovered that the results were similar for all age groups, which could lead to more focus on how to fight obesity.
More than one third of adults in the United States are obese, according to the CDC.
Obesity is at its highest for people aged 40 to 59 with 40 percent of that age group overweight.
The researchers argue that the cost of paying for obesity has a significant impact on health care in the United States.
When someone has a higher body mass index, they are more at risk to develop cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other forms of cancer.
Eliminating the obesity problem would decrease the amount of money spent on medication and medical procedures in the country.
'The substantial costs associated with excess weight in different health care settings emphasize the need for investment to tackle this major public health problem,' the authors said.