Study: Healthy People Cost Governments More

There are a lot of good reasons for people to lose weight and stop smoking — but saving money on lifetime health care costs isn't one of them, according to a study out of the Netherlands.

The researchers found that healthy people cost governments more in the long run because they live years longer: an average of 4.5 years longer than people who are obese, and seven years longer than smokers.

Economist Pieter van Baal, who led the study for the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, talks with Melissa Block about the counter-intuitive idea that a healthy lifestyle costs more in terms of health care.

Van Baal's study, "Lifetime Medical Costs of Obesity: Prevention No Cure for Increasing Health Expenditure," was published Monday in the online journal Public Library of Science-Medicine.

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