Obesity could claim the lives of 90 million people in the next 30 years and reduce GDP by 3.3 percent, says study

According to the report titled The Heavy Burden of Obesity – The Economics of Prevention, at this point more than half of the population is overweight in 34 out of 36 countries that were taken into consideration and one in every four people suffers from obesity

Diseases related to obesity will claim 90 million lives in the next 30 years and life expectancy will reduce by approximately 3 years, says a new report by OECD. According to the report titled The Heavy Burden of Obesity – The Economics of Prevention, at this point more than half of the population is overweight in 34 out of 36 countries that were taken into consideration and one in every four people suffers from obesity.

 Nearly 50 million people are currently obese with an increase in the condition from 2010 to 2016 from 21% to 24% respectively, states the report.

Obesity in adults makes them prone to chronic illnesses like diabetes while children who are overweight or obese tend to fall behind at school.

The study also says that obesity adversely affects the level of life satisfaction and that individuals who are obese are "three times more likely to be bullied, which in turn may contribute to lower school performance."

"There is an urgent economic and social case to scale up investments to tackle obesity and promote healthy lifestyles," OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría told MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) in a statement.

"These findings clearly illustrate the need for better social, health and education policies that lead to better lives." According to the study, obesity and its family of illnesses will also reduce GDP by 3.3% in OECD countries.

So far, these countries spend 8.4% of their health budget on obesity and related illnesses, which is approximately $311 billion.

The reduction in GDP will cause the cost to spike to $360 per capita per year on personal budgets. The report states that the money invested in preventing obesity will ensure economic returns.

Labeling food correctly, regulation in the advertising of unhealthy foods especially to kids, reduction in the calorie content of food like crisps and confectionary could potentially prevent more than 1 million cases.

In fact, menu labeling alone could save up to $13 billion between 2020 and 2050. "By investing in prevention, policymakers can halt the rise in obesity for future generations, and benefit economies. There is no more excuse for inaction," Gurria added.


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