Xtreme Eating Awards: I'll have a slice of pie in that milkshake
Forget the Golden Globes. We've moved on. The Xtreme Eating Award winners announced today include the stars of the super saturated fat, sodium and sugar genres and include: A milkshake with a slice of apple pie blended in, a 3,0000-calorie plate of pasta and an entree with calories equal to a bucket of KFC.
Nutritionists from the Center for Science in the Public Interest have been dishing out these dubious distinctions each year since 2007, says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the center, in a Huffington Post blog post that lists all of this year's honorees.
Given the country's propensity for large portions of unhealthy food, it's no surprise that there is a recent trend in group health care aimed at motivating workers to become healthier as a means of reducing health care costs.
Employees who embrace healthy lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking and losing weight, are increasingly being rewarded with lower insurance premiums, cash awards or other incentives – and those who don't are being penalized. (See "Take care or pay a higher share of your health care costs.")
But you don't need your employer's help to save money on life insurance. If you're among the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight or obese, losing weight could qualify you for lower life insurance rates. That's true whether you're applying for a new policy or already have life insurance. (See: "How much can you save on life insurance by losing weight?")
Louis Cassara, chairman and CEO of the Financial Resource Network in the Chicago area, says several of his formerly overweight clients who slimmed down through healthy diet and exercise programs were able to get reconsideration of their life insurance rating classes on existing policies. The strategy reduced costs of their permanent life insurance policies, allowing more money to go into cash value, says Cassara, a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant. (See: "Living large: Obesity health costs surpass those of smoking.")
"You can save 5 percent to 15 percent on the cost of insurance by being in good shape," he says.
Not all life insurance companies allow existing policyholders to apply for better rating classes. Ask your life insurance agent for details. (See: "6 New Year's resolutions that could lower your insurance rates.")
Des Toups is a writer, editor and expert on insurance, cars and personal finance. He has written extensively about all three for national publications such as MSN and major newspapers such as the Seattle Times. He has been quoted about insurance issues in The New York Times, USA Today and Kiplinger's. Follow him on Twitter @destoups.