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According to a new study, the economic cost of obesity would account for 3.3% of world GDP by 2060

US$2.2 trillion could be saved if the number of people who are obese stayed at 2019 levels. 

According to a recent report by the World Obesity Federation and RTI International, the prevalence of overweight and obesity would cost the global economy 3.3% of GDP by 2060. The analysis of the present economic effects of overweight and obesity in 161 countries is included in the report, which was peer-reviewed and published in BMJ Global Health.

The anticipated prevalence of NCDs between 2020 and 2060 might be reduced by 5%, which would save an average of US$429 billion annually globally. It offers the first-ever nation-specific worldwide estimate of the economic effects of non-communicable diseases (NCD), primarily due to preventable healthcare expenses associated with cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease caused by obesity.

According to the study, US$2.2 trillion could be saved if the number of people who are obese stayed at 2019 levels. The anticipated prevalence of NCDs between 2020 and 2060 might be reduced by 5%, which would save an average of US$429 billion annually globally.

The countries with the highest predicted increases in cost to GDP are China, the United States, and India. It is estimated to cost India close to $850 billion (2.47% of GDP), the United States over $2.5 trillion, and China over $10 trillion. Germany, Canada, Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Japan are other nations where the economic consequences of being overweight and obese are anticipated to exceed $100 billion. It is anticipated to cost the United Arab Emirates the highest percentage of GDP of all those nations (11.04 per cent).

Johanna Ralston, CEO, World Obesity Federation said, “These estimates of the economic impact of overweight and obesity should alarm governments across the world. The persistent stigmatisation of people living with obesity and policies that do not reflect the most recent evidence have led to failing approaches that ignore obesity’s root causes.”

According to estimates, the current cost of obesity to the world GDP is 2.19 percent. In lower-income nations, the predicted economic loss per person in 2019 is $6, while in higher-income nations, it is $1,110. According to the report, total economic costs will likely rise by four times in high-income countries, but between 12 and 25 times in low- and middle-income nations. They are anticipated to more than double in the WHO Europe region compared to a 26-fold increase in the WHO Western Pacific region.

The study included both direct and indirect costs. The former includes both medical and non-medical costs, whereas the latter also includes expenses incurred while seeking official healthcare, such as patient and caregiver travel charges. The financial loss caused by early mortality, lost workdays, and decreased productivity at the workplace are some other indirect expenses.

On average across all nations, medical costs account for 99.8% of all direct costs. Premature mortality expenses make up, on average, 69.1% of all indirect expenses. GDP is more significantly impacted by indirect expenses than by direct costs.

By 2030, one billion people will be obese, according to a prediction made earlier this year by the World Obesity Federation. The organisation began a pilot research on the economic effects of overweight and obesity last year with RTI International, concentrating on eight nations. The World Obesity Federation is urging world leaders to address the core causes of overweight and obesity through systemic solutions at the United Nations General Assembly rather than emphasising individual responsibility.

“This study has highlighted the need for urgent, concerted and holistic action to address the global rise in overweight and obesity prevalence. We can alter this through the right policy and private sector attention to reduce factors in the environment that can cause the non-communicable disease,” Ralston said.

According to a new study, the economic cost of obesity would account for 3.3% of world GDP by 2060

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