Are you too fat for life insurance?

By Susheela Bhat, Life Quotes, Inc.

First the good news: if you’ve picked up a little weight over the winter, chances are your life insurance won’t be too badly affected. Any more than that, then you’ll have to cut the fat, or your insurers will charge you for it.

The bad news is, as a nation, we’re getting fatter. This is a huge problem for the life insurance companies, because obesity leads to a host of other serious health problems.

What’s the cost of being obese in insurance premiums?

“People who are obese are at a higher risk for serious conditions like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis (a common joint disorder) and certain kinds of cancers,” said Dr. Don Behan, Senior Research Associate at Georgia State University’s Center for Risk Management and Insurance Research. “When insurers are evaluating a person, his or her length of life is often discussed in terms of life expectancy. Mortality depends on age, gender, health status, habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol and participation in dangerous activities. Mortality rates may be estimated on the basis of these characteristics.”

Obesity is determined by the amount of body fat a person has relative to their muscle, bone and organ tissue. The sum of body mass is a simple mathematical calculation determined on your height and weight, and compared to a standardized body mass index (BMI) chart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list an overweight adult having a BMI between 25 and 29.9. An obese adult would have a BMI of 30 or higher.

Hypothetically speaking, if a male nonsmoker, age 55 wanted to get about 0,000 of life insurance and had a BMI of 38, he would be paying an estimated annual premium of ,256. If a 55-year-old nonsmoker male with a BMI under 30 wanted the same amount of life insurance, he would pay ,767 annually, according to Dave Redpath, Assistant Vice President of Underwriting at Hartford Life. While these are estimated numbers the fact remains; the higher the BMI, the harder your wallet will get hit—not just for life insurance, but paying for potential health problems down the line.

Women at risk

Now for the worse news: If you are an obese female, you are at higher risk for endometrial, breast and colon cancer.

“Adult females seem to be impacted more by obesity than males when it comes to certain cancers, because there hasn’t been a link between prostate cancer and obesity,” said Behan.

Although some experts believe BMI is not the best way to measure if a person is obese, “It is possible for a person to have an ‘unhealthy BMI’ because they are very muscular, but in a general population, this is an exception to the rule and BMI is a good standardized tool to gauge healthy weight,” said Behan, who also said life insurance companies would not use BMI as a sole measurement, but would also take into account things like family history and body fat percentage.

If you would like to know your BMI, you can check out the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s free Body Mass Index Calculator.

To get low cost life insurance and avoid potentially devastating medical bills in the future, the answer is fairly straightforward. A healthy diet, exercise and a healthy weight are the best way to go. Also, if you join a wellness program at work or hire a personal trainer to lose weight, document your progress and tell your insurer. This will help your agent evaluate a fair assessment of your current health status, and could land you in a lower rate category. Keep in mind, that folks who are underweight can also be charged higher rates for insurance, said Redpath. The key to getting good rates is obtaining a healthy bodyweight.

While nothing beats a well-made hamburger, you’re generally better off grilling out at home than heading to a restaurant to get your burger fix. Like many delectable items found on a restaurant menu, the hidden calories in restaurant burgers can have you eating twice as much than you would normally in one sitting. So before you sink your teeth into that juicy piece of meat read this list of the top 7 worst burgers in America and weigh your options.

*Note: The nutrition information was verified using the nutrition charts of each restaurant.

#1: Denny’s Smokin’ Q Three Pack With a combined 2,020 calories, 110 g fat (22 g saturated, 3 g transfats) and 3,570 mg sodium, this “little” snack stacks up to being the equivalent of three meals, with more than the daily requirements of fat and sodium in each bite.

#2: Cheesecake Factory Ranch House Burger This

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