The global cost of obesity amounts to a whopping $2 trillion annually – or 2.8 per cent of world GDP – nearly equivalent to the impact of smoking or armed violence, war and terrorism, according to a new report.
The expenditure pointed to in the report by the UK-based consulting firm McKinsey Global Institute equals that of war, terrorism, and armed violence together and is almost on par with the cost that smoking inflicts upon the international economy.
The company says 2.1 billion people are overweight or obese worldwide.
“Obesity is a major global economic problem caused by a multitude of factors,” the report said.
“We see our work on a potential program to address obesity as the equivalent of the maps used by 16th-century navigators,” McKinsey said in its report.
“Some islands were missing and some continents misshapen in these maps, but they were still helpful to the sailors of that era.”
The report put the phenomenon’s impact at 2.8 percent of global gross domestic product and predicted that nearly half the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030 should present trends continue.
It identified 74 interventions that it argued will help tighten waistlines around the world. Recommendations include limiting the size of portions in packaged fast food, parental education, and introducing healthy meals in schools and workplaces.