The Real Cost of Your Vice

  • Save Money for a Longer Life

    As you’re sorting through the remnants of your Halloween revelry, health officials have come out with more reminders of why you should lay off the candy, booze and other unhealthy vices. Here are some of the bad habits that are among the top causes of death, both in the U.S. and abroad, according to the World Health Organization. The kicker? All of these habits contribute to the state of our economy and affect American tax payers. Photo Credit: Yasmapaz & Ace_Heart
    Hitting the Bottle
  • Hitting the Bottle

    While there may be health benefits to drinking, the risks outweigh the costs. In higher-income countries, stroke deaths would be 11% higher if no one drank, but on the other hand, alcohol consumption can contribute to more than 60 different diseases and injuries, according to the WHO. But at least Americans don’t drink as much as those in Eastern Europe. WHO studies found that Eastern Europeans drink 2.5 times more than the worldwide average, which is about 6.2 liters per year. Not too surprisingly, one in 10 deaths there are alcohol-related, the WHO says. Photo Credit: neoliminal
    Economic Impact of Drinking
  • Economic Impact of Drinking

    There’s some major disagreement about how to quantify the effects of alcohol on the economy. On the high end, some research has shown that alcohol abuse costs Americans about $184.6 billion a year when you include crime, accidents, medical issues, lost earnings and productivity. On the low end, economist David Heien and sociologist David Pittman estimate that the societal costs per year of drinking is $9.5 billion. Why the big disparity? Hein and Pittman accounted for the economic benefits of alcohol consumption, which include tax revenue and jobs in the beverage industry, according to an article published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Photo Credit: John Picken
    Being Sedentary
  • Being Sedentary

    Doing nothing can lead to a heart attack and, believe it or not, middle-income workers are affected more than those with higher and lower incomes. This could be because long hours with mediocre pay means much more time sitting at a desk than being physically active. But inactivity is one of the major causes of heart related deaths, according to the WHO. It may never be too late to get active though. “People who modify their behavior and start regular physical activity after [a] heart attack have better rates of survival and better quality of life,” according to the American Heart Association. Photo Credit: Kyle May
    Economic Impact of Inactivity
  • Economic Impact of Inactivity

    “More than 61 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and one of the major contributing factors is simple inactivity. In America, there is about one heart-related death every 33 seconds, the CDC estimates. Cardiovascular disease costs the country, including taxpayers, about $300 billion a year if you include health costs and lost work productivity, the CDC says. Photo Credit: aarmono
    Avoiding the Doctor
  • Avoiding the Doctor

    If you haven’t been to a doctor in years, here’s a reminder. One of the first procedures in a doctor’s office is a blood pressure check. One in three adults has high blood pressure, and many have no symptoms at all, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. High blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure. But you can lower your blood pressure by making small lifestyle changes or by taking medicines. Photo Credit: backstory1
    Impact of Hiding from Healthcare
  • Impact of Hiding from Healthcare

    High blood pressure is preventable and fixable. Even eating less salt can help lower your blood pressure, the CDC notes. Not a bad deal for the individual, considering the condition cost the U.S. $73.4 billion this year, according to the CDC. Photo Credit: Andreas D.
    Horrible Eating Habits
  • Horrible Eating Habits

    Too much sugary, salty and fatty food can take a serious toll on your health and your wallet. And we don’t have to be alarmist parents to tell you that not eating your vegetables is bad for your health. Nearly 200,000 deaths a year in North, Central and South America are attributed to low fruit and vegetable intake, according to the WHO. And middle-income individuals are disproportionately affected by this. Plus, beware of that bacon grease and fried chicken. High cholesterol can lead to heart disease, stroke and other life threatening conditions. Photo Credit: Shot_By_Cam
    Economic Impact of Bad Eating Habits
  • Economic Impact of Bad Eating Habits

    Improving nutrition and physically activity and laying off the sweets could actually save the country money! That’s because these moves can prevent and slow the progression and symptoms of diabetes, which accounts for more than $98 billion in direct and indirect medical costs and lost productivity each year, according to the CDC. In fact, research has found that “lifestyle changes, such as consistent, moderate intensity physical activity and a healthy diet, may reduce a person's risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 40% to 60%,” the CDC says. Photo Credit: sylvar
  • Smoking

    You may think twice about reaching for a cigarette to calm your nerves after hearing these statistics. In one year alone, tobacco use can cause 5.1 million deaths worldwide, killing one in eight people aged 30 and older, according to the WHO. Tobacco also accounts for 18% of deaths in the U.S. and other high-income countries, the organization finds. Photo Credit: nasrulekram
    Economic Impact of Smoking
  • Economic Impact of Smoking

    Considering health problems and even cigarette breaks, smoking in the U.S. causes $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in health care expenditures, according to the CDC. Photo Credit: ifraud
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