Much of what we know about the economic impact of overweight and obesity come from studies in high-income countries, despite us knowing that the challenges we face are global and far-reaching.
A new pilot study - published in BMJ Global Health today - has estimated the economic impact of obesity at between 0.8 - 2.4% of annual GDP in eight countries. The study also calculates the cost of continued political inaction, with economic impacts projected to rise up to 4.8% by 2060 if urgent action is not taken by public health leaders around the world.
The pilot study of eight countries, which will be followed by a full global study of 140 countries in Spring 2022, found that high BMI had a significant economic impact in 2019. Significant economic impact was estimated regardless of income level and geography.
The pilot study found that in 2019 high BMI cost India $23billion. In Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Australia costs amounted to $39billion, $19billion, and $24billion, respectively. This is the equivalent of 0.8%, 2.1%, 2.4% and 1.7% of GDP.READ OUR REPORT
If urgent action is not taken, the study reports that the economic impact in all eight countries is projected to rise between 2.4% - 4.8% by 2060 However, the study is also optimistic that reversing this trend are possible. The authors found that maintaining or reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity can reduce the economic impacts in the future.
Ahead of the full report in spring 2022, World Obesity and RTI are calling for the implementation of evidence-based policies to support populations globally to live healthier lives. Specifically, World Obesity are calling for the adoption of the obesity ‘ROOTS’ framework - which was agreed by a panel of global obesity experts in 2020 - to drive obesity policy and advocacy in national settings.
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The Economic Impact of Overweight & Obesity in 8 Countries
Summary report - By RTI International and World Obesity, with contributions from the University of California, Berkeley MDP Consulting TeamDownload (6.52 MB)