Unhealthy Costs:

Burden of Bad Habits

Unhealthy Choices. Unchecked Costs.

Problems caused by poor nutrition cost North Carolina $12 billion a year — more than we spend on pensions, public welfare and protection* combined.18,19

The contributing factors behind the costs? Everything from the abundance of calorie-laden snacks and foods to the lack of affordable, nutritious food options encourages poor eating habits that ultimately expand the state’s collective waistline.20, 21

Thirty percent of North Carolina adults are obese — alarming given that obesity is a leading factor for chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers.22

Yet about 17 percent of North Carolinians struggle to put nutritious food on the table.23 They also have high rates of diabetes and obesity, largely because affordable, available foods are loaded with calories and lack nutritional value.24

Then there’s exercise. Less than 50 percent of North Carolinians get the weekly recommended minimum amount.25 All told, sedentary lifestyles combined with poor diets make the perfect recipe for obesity and obesity-related diseases.

*Police and fire protection, law courts, prisons, public order and safety

$3.81 Billion Up In Smoke

It’s a disappearing act that’s anything but magical.

It may surprise you to know 20 percent of North Carolina adults smoke — and that our state spends $3.81 billion every year on medical costs associated with smoking.29, 30

But money is only the tip of the iceberg. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths across North Carolina and the U.S.31 It’s linked not only to lung cancer but also to other chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.32 In our state alone, about 14,200 people die each year due to smoking-related diseases.33

Fortunately, there is good news: More and more residents are trying to kick the habit. Today, 60 percent of serious smokers are trying to quit.34

Cited sources