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Fat Or Thin - Don't Let It Cost You

Apr 26, 2008
It's a well known fact that life insurance companies have guidelines as to the risks they and their customers are going to be taking when embarking on life insurance schemes. It's an obvious statement to make that they want to protect their own assets and are concerned about insuring people who already have long term or chronic illnesses diagnosed. They call it wanting their customers to have long, healthy lives but whatever.

This is why it is absolutely essential to disclose every possible ailment on your life insurance application forms. It may increase your premiums slightly but if they can find a way out of a payout then they will and there's no point in making it easy for them.

Another thing that life insurance companies take into consideration when working out your premiums is your weight and build. They possess their own set of, somewhat outdated, guidelines that suggest healthy weight limits for men and women of different ages. Fall outside of these guidelines and you will see your life insurance premiums soar.

However, the press is full of advice about how to tackle both ends of the problem - obesity and anorexia. Solve these and not only will we all be that little bit healthier but also a little richer. Obesity is, as far as doctors are concerned, a fairly straightforward problem. For all the people that claim their obesity is due to thyroid, hormone or metabolism problems, very few are, in fact. And these can mostly be solved with medicine.

For the vast majority, obesity is due to putting too much food in the face and not taking enough exercise. And one of the biggest problems to overcoming this is will power itself. You cannot buy will power and the person that makes that possible will be very rich indeed.

Various drugs come on the market aimed at reducing obesity and are prescribed through doctors. Only prescribed in extreme circumstances where the extra weight is life threatening, these drugs come with some very nasty side effect. Namely, uncontrollable diarrhoea. Still people see it as a miracle cure, they continue to eat and think the doctor will put it right by prescribing pills to make the weight go away.

An over the counter product is now available that is half the strength of the prescribed pills but available to all. The idea is that you take three pills a day with meals and if any part of that meal contains over a certain amount of fat, that meal will pass through you rapidly and without warning. The manufacturers recommend that until you get used to this event, or until you resist fatty food, you should always carry spare clothes with you!

Now resisting fatty food is not always easy. God knows, I love a regular dose of chocolate and the occasional bag of chips but I know full well that if it was that or opening my bowels in public, I know the chips and chocolate would go first!

Does running with such urgency to the toilet not constitute a health risk, particularly in a restaurant serving greasy food? Slippery floors etc? Would patients on these drugs increase their life insurance premiums thus?

The cost of this so-called 'wonder drug' comes in at approximately one pound per day. IF you follow a strict diet and exercise you can lose 3lb a week instead of the 2lb you would lose on a normal diet and exercise programme. Is it worth it I ask myself. You could easily lose that extra pound a week by slightly reducing portion sizes or, as a more entertaining and much less messy method, have one more round of sex!

For those at the other end of the spectrum comes higher life insurance premiums for the severely underweight - the anorexics. It is widely debated whether or not anorexia is a disease of the mind or body and, speaking from experience, it is very difficult to tell.

I don't believe you are born with any particular gene that would develop into anorexia later in life but you can, from a very early age, suffer with such low self esteem that events in life bring you to such a low ebb that you turn on yourself. Is anorexia brought on by depression or do you get depressed because you do not have the nutritional basis to think straight? An argument that will go on for some time.

However, some preventative measures are being put in place to stop the up-coming generation of young girls from succumbing to this feeling that they have to be underweight to be worthy people. The French government are leading the way in banning all advertising that promotes anorexia. Mostly aimed at websites, fashion magazines and advertisers, anybody seen to be recommending ways of losing excessive amounts of weight will be punished with fines up to 36,000 pounds and/or jail terms of up to three years.

Hopefully, this move will ease some of the pressures that young girls feel to conform to a certain unrealistic and unhealthy size. The rest of the world would do well to follow suit.
About the Author
Health expert Catherine Harvey looks at ways to reduce life insurance premiums.
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