Gallup Chairman's Blog – The Unaffordable Cost of Being the Fattest Country on Earth

September, 2014


Gallup and Healthways released a new report titled State of Global Well-Being . Chairman and CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton, writes in his Chairman Blog how the cost of health and healthcare can strongly affect an individual and a country and their financial health. 


A recent report cited that the single biggest reason families go bankrupt in the United States is because they get wiped out by medical bills. What a nightmare. God bless those families that have to spend all of their household savings, and more, to help a loved one.

But here’s something that few American citizens know: Just like those families,
the U.S. could also go broke, because the country is being wiped out by medical costs. The nation’s healthcare costs have grown to $2.8 trillion, or nearly $9,000 per person, which is more than double what comparable countries pay per person. And health spending is projected to grow at an average rate of 6% through 2022 – much faster than the expected average annual GDP growth. With these staggeringly high, growing costs that are increasing faster than our economy will grow, we’re on an unsustainable path to national bankruptcy. Sure, a country can’t get foreclosed on or have its car taken away, like what can happen to a family. But a country can lose its economy, its growth, its jobs, its security -- its very way of life.

Gallup and Healthways just released our State of Global Well-Being report. I wish I could say the findings are encouraging on the healthcare front, but they’re not. The U.S. ranks 25th globally in physical well-being, with 57% of our citizens struggling, 11% suffering, and only 32% thriving in this element. But here’s a truly alarming -- and revealing -- fact: The U.S. is the most obese country in the world.



See Jim Clifton's speech at the 2013 HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit


Full Disclosure: Gallup is a partner of Operation HOPE and Gallup-HOPE Index.

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