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How the global obesity crisis is weighing on the world’s finances

Summarised by Centrist 

Professor Rachel Batterham of University College London, a specialist in obesity issues, writes that the rising number of obese people globally is expected to weigh down our economies in health and other costs. New research suggests women may be worse off than men.

Batterham says that this is due to healthcare costs, shortened lifespan and lower productivity. The result, according to Batterham, is that this massive economic strain threatens global financial stability and will disproportionately impact poorer countries. 

Global obesity rates have soared since the 1970s. The global disease rate has tripled in tandem at the same time. Batterham says that four million deaths per year may be attributed to obesity and women are at greater risk than men. 

The contemporary understanding of obesity is a mix of environmental factors, such as the availability of cheap energy-dense foods and sedentary lifestyles, rather than solely individual choices or metabolic deficiencies. 

Thankfully, the narrative around obesity is shifting, says Batterham. She advocates for a multifaceted approach.  involving reconfigured public health policies, enhanced medical care, and workplace initiatives that foster supportive environments for individuals battling obesity. 

Editor’s note: Professor Batterham offers estimates on projected global costs of obesity, but they are highly speculative. 

Read more over at The Telegraph

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