According to a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the global cost of obesity has risen to $2 trillion annually, that being nearly as much as smoking or the combined impact of armed violence, war and terrorism. The study also underlines the prediction according to which nearly half of the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030, should the present trends continue.
The research also recommended a series of 44 interventions to fight the epidemic, presenting measures such as introducing a safe network of cycle lanes, portion control in fast-food packaged goods, and more PE lessons in schools.
The report said:
“Obesity is a major global economic problem caused by a multitude of factors. Today obesity is jostling with armed conflict and smoking in terms of having the greatest human-generated global economic impact.
“The global economic impact of obesity is increasing. The evidence suggests that the economic and societal impact of obesity is deep and lasting.”
About 2.1 billion people (that’s nearly one-third of the global population), were overweight or obese in 2013, according to a study published earlier this year in medical journal The Lancet. That was up sharply from 857 million in 1980. In most developed economies, MGI calculates obesity ranks among the top three human-generated economic burdens. It calculates obesity has an annual cost of $663 billion a year in the U.S. and of $70 billion in the U.K.
In other words obesity ranks far more costly than alcoholism, climate change, air pollution, and drug problems. It falls just behind armed conflict and smoking in terms of the most costly human-generated burdens. The financial loss to obesity is equivalent to Russia’s Gross Domestic Product.
” Overweight and obesity is a complex problem which requires action across individual and societal levels involving industry, national and local government and the voluntary sector. There is no single ‘silver bullet’ solution. (…) PHE will continue to support local authorities to provide effective weight management services, to influence the regulation of fast food outlets and provide healthier catering in hospitals and schools, which will all help people to lose weight,”
said Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England (PHE).