Obesity costs the economy more than terrorism – new report

Obesity is responsible for an annual loss equivalent to three per cent of GDP and is second only to smoking as a cost to the economy, according to a new report from McKinsey & Company. The report suggests that obesity could cost the UK economy up to £47 billion a year.

McKinsey’s report has set out 44 interventions designed to help ensure 20 per cent of those currently considered obese do not suffer weight management issues within five to ten years. Included in the recommendations are the improvement and subsidising of school meals, improving access to bariatric (weight loss) surgery, banning vending machines in schools, and removing snacks (so-called guilt lanes’) from supermarket checkouts.

The report claims that 2.1 billion people are obese, also predicting that half the world’s population could be obese by 2030. McKinsey has claimed the UK could save up to £16 billion a year by implementing its recommendations.

The report represents one of starkest warnings over obesity since the 2007 Foresight Report, while also highlighting the potential demands obesity could place on the health service at a time of increased demand and significant financial constraints.