This article was published by Geoffrey Smith in Fortune 500 magazine this week. I am sure you have seen an article like it somewhere else also. We, as a Nation, are not the only ones letting nutrition slip, it is slipping all over the world. The results are going to be not only physically damaging, but financially costly as well to all of us. Take a read and I’ll add my two cents worth at the end (in green).
“The global obesity epidemic now costs the world economy more than alcoholism or climate change, study says.
Obesity is now a threat to the world economy to rival war and terrorism, according to a new report published Thursday.
Taking together the costs of healthcare, of lost productivity and other spending needed to mitigate its impact, consulting firm McKinsey reckons the annual cost of obesity fat now tops $2 trillion, or 2.8% of global economic output. That compares with an estimate of $2.1 trillion for war and terrorism, and for smoking, and is way ahead of alcoholism ($1.4 trillion), illiteracy ($1.3 trillion) and even climate change ($1.0 trillion).
The report is the latest evidence of the spiralling costs of unhealthy lifestyles that combine low levels of exercise (often due to desk-based jobs) with a taste for fatty and sugary foods. And while the problem may have originated in the U.S. and other rich economies, it is now firmly entrenched and growing fast in many countries that are, by most standards, still poor.
The U.N.’s World Health Organization estimates that over one in three adults was overweight in 208, while more than one in 10 was obese. Twice as many people worldwide live in countries where more die from being too fat than from being undernourished. The most frequent causes of death include heart disease and type-2 diabetes. McKinsey estimates that almost half the world’s adult population could be obese or overweight by 2030 if current trends continue.
McKinsey looked at 74 types of ‘intervention’ that could help reverse a rising trend, ranging from public education programs for parents and children, to workplace wellness schemes and reduced portion sizes at fast food restaurants. Almost all of them deliver far more in benefits than they would cost to implement, McKinsey claims, although it stresses that there is no single “silver bullet.”
McKinsey took the U.K. as a typical case of a developed country with a rising obesity problem. At present, the country invests less than $1 billion a year on programs preventing obesity–only 1% of the total social cost of the problem.
The consultants said that if the U.K. could roll back obesity to 1993 levels, its stretched National Health Service could save $1.2 billion.”
This trend is damaging on so many levels and it is scary that this generation of children may not outlive their parents. This is the first time this epidemic has hit our world in such a dramatic and influential way. We CAN reverse this by individually committing to not be a part of it. Making a commitment to eat healthier, move more, and take care of ourselves is a big step even though it may seem small. When it comes down to it, we only have control over ourselves and the decisions we make personally. They will influence others, and believe me they are watching! Take a small step today, just today, and do one thing to make your own health a priority. A small one, like reaching for an apple rather than the bag of chips or making time to walk for 30 minutes after dinner. Then do another small thing again tomorrow and then next day. Just one thing a day will add up to 365 things over a year, to 1825 things over 5 years, 3,650 over 10 years…and so on. All you have to do is one each day! Just doing this will influence your friends and family to do the same and then we are headed back in the right direction. (off my soap box now)