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Is Obesity Worse Than Smoking?

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If you want to keep the doctor away, lose weight. In a provocative study out of Canada, an economics professor has determined that obese people visit doctors most — even more than smokers. “The fact that obesity is more serious than smoking helps people understand the gravity of the problem because they already have some kind of intuitive understanding that smoking is bad,” James McIntosh, a professor of economics at Canada’s Concordia University says in a university press release. In a comprehensive health survey of Canadians — where one of four citizens is considered obese — McIntosh found if obesity was not a factor, doctors visits were reduced by 10 percent. He also discovered that smokers of a healthy weight visit doctors less often than their obese counterparts. McIntosh says the research may ultimately have broad public policy implications, influencing weight-loss programs people to curb health care costs. Meanwhile, not smoking continues to be an excellent personal health choice.

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