Staggering Cost of Global Obesity May be Underestimated

July 13th, 2016 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

According to an analysis by the McKinsey Global Initiative, obesity ranks third, behind smoking and armed violence, war and terrorism, in its global social burden, or about $2 trillion or 2.8% of global gross domestic product (GDP) approximately equal to the GDP of Russia or Italy. Lost productivity may be responsible for 70% of total costs. “In the United States, armed conflict (and especially spending on the military) has the highest social and economic impact, and obesity is second; obesity generated an impact in the United States of $664 billion a year in 2012, or 4.1% of GDP.” As jaw-dropping as that analysis, the situation may be worse. A new paper by Hruschka and Hadley posits that worldwide variation in human body weights are far more widespread that previously thought. The use of standard cut-offs might lead to underestimating global obesity levels by 400-500 million while also incorrectly prioritizing high-risk areas for undernutrition in children.