The Twin Bro Health Challenge


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When twin brothers, Jonathan and Nathaniel, were twenty-four years old, they argued that their choice of combining of physical activity and diet would have no effect on their financial lifestyle. Although it was not a purely empirical study, the brothers adopted an otherwise similar lifestyle so that the variability would be limited to forces outside their control. Ultimately, Jonathan and Nathaniel wanted to know: Does eating healthy and not working out regularly save more money than working out often but not eating well?

Jonathan decided that, for him, eating food that is cheaper while maintaining a gym membership to work out would yield him better financial benefits. Jonathan obtained a gym membership with a monthly cost of 20 dollars per month. Typically, he spends 220 dollars on groceries per month; additionally, he spends approximately 280 dollars per month eating at fast food restaurants. Nathaniel, on the other hand, has a higher budget for groceries since organic food products tend to cost more. He establishes a budget of 345 dollars per month, and he spends about 230 dollars eating out each month. This means that due to the challenge, Jonathan has a monthly budget for food of 520 dollars, and Nathaniel institutes a budget of 575 dollars.

As the challenge progressed, Jonathan began to see the effects of not eating healthy. Soon he became too tired to work out often and for a constant period of time. As a result, he began to lose muscle density and gain more fat. At the age of forty-six, twenty-two years after the initiation of the challenge and nine years after the end of his fitness regiment, Jonathan suffered from a small heart attack. One of his coronary arteries had become blocked due to the accumulation of atherosclerosis (cholesterol). After this incident, Jonathan decided to wave his white flag and admit defeat in the Twin Bro Health Challenge due to the unexpected, additional costs of heart disease medication including beta blockers, nitrates, and blood thinners. Although Nathaniel won, he didn’t walk away free of health consequences due to his inactivity. Nathaniel suffered from a lack of strength and flexibility. He admitted that he became tired easily and took more days off of work than his brother.

Upon the conclusion of this challenge, the twin brothers decided that they would combine their health philosophies to benefit the both of them. Although it started merely as a financial challenge, the brothers learned that saving money comes at a cost when it comes to one’s health. They also decided that it is important to consider the long-term effects of their financial decisions. Jonathan adopted a diet with fewer carbohydrates and starches, and added more vegetables and protein.  Although it is more expensive, he ended up having to spend less money on medication. Nathaniel on the other hand began to exercise regularly. He ended up building more muscle mass with anaerobic exercises and strengthening his heart with aerobic exercises. Together, they achieved long-term financial and health success.

*Economic Costs and Benefits of Healthy Eating

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