In a somewhat surprising finding, researchers in the Netherlands have concluded that healthy, thin people have higher lifelong health care costs than either obese individuals, or smokers, because they live longer.
It must be noted, though, that the researchers' conclusions are based on a computer simulation, not real-life data from actual people. As with any mathematical simulation, key assumptions need to be made about complex issues (severity of disease, actual costs for treatment, risk of developing related illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, etc.).
With more than one-third of American adults classified as overweight, this study is certain to generate much discussion, especially in public health circles.