Here’s a possible incentive to get more people exercising: lower their taxes. Taxes, as well as tax breaks, are designed to be each individual’s and/or business’s way to keep our society functioning, and, in an ideal world, more...well...ideal. In this well-researched and well-argued article, Dr. Jordan D. Metzl posits that one of the simplest ways to have our tax system achieve more of its goals—in terms of human health—is to provide tax deductions for how Americans take care of their health. Illness, preventable through exercise and healthy diet, burdens our society with unbelievable costs.
In his article “You Should Get a Tax Deduction for a Gym Membership” published in Slate, he states:
The United States is the world’s richest and most powerful nation, yet we rank 28th in life expectancy and 70th in overall health according to the Social Progress Index. At $2.7 trillion, we outspend all other countries in health care, with nearly $1.5 trillion treating diseases related to inactivity, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Seventy percent of adults age 20 and older are overweight, and more than 33 percent are obese. For the first time, according to some predictions, children in the current generation may live shorter lives than their parents. Our current health care system does little to encourage preventive health, and we continue to spend billions of dollars treating preventable diseases. It’s time to incentivize Americans to lead healthier lives.”
When you consider that cost alone, his idea seems to make a lot of sense. Dial in the reduction in human suffering, and the argument gets even stronger.