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The Cost of Living

Filed Under: Sexual Health at 2:27 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Mr. Money BagIt would seem that research has given you yet another reason not to lose those extra pounds hanging around your middle. It is, evidently, cheaper to be obese than it is to be thin and healthy. A study of individuals from three groups – thin and non-smoking, obese, and smoking – found that the first group, the healthiest, cost the most in terms of medical expenses. The fat were cheaper to treat, long-term. So if you packed on the pounds you’d be helping the economy, wouldn’t you?

Sure, but you’d be doing it from the grave.

Obese people and smokers cost less medically, in the long run, because during the years when the normal-weight require the most attention, during that span of time when age-related diseases reach their peak and the previously healthy spend more than they ever have on medical care, the obese and smoking are dead. They die years before the healthy, so of course their overall medical costs are less. But what would happen if they didn’t? What would happen if they lived just as long?

Quite simply, their medical expenses would dwarf everyone else’s. Obese individuals are more likely to have cardiovascular problems, which cost approximately $76 billion a year, nationally. Smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer – actually, all types of cancer, which cost $69 billion annually. And both groups experience more complications in general for conditions such as diabetes and osteoarthritis, two more frighteningly expensive diseases, so there really is no positive aspect to beefing or lighting up. You may save money, but only because you are dead. Wouldn’t you rather cost the country a little more and live to see another birthday?

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