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How obesity impacts economic growth and SDGs along with its health implications

The costs associated with these conditions undermine economic growth as well as the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly on health.


ADB 30 Jul 2018, 03:18 AM
  • Another review in 10 European countries shows obesity can account for 0.09% to 0.61% of gross domestic product. (Image Credit: Flickr)

Two of five adults in Asia and the Pacific are overweight or obese. The costs associated with these conditions undermine economic growth as well as the achievement of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly on health.

But the implications of obesity and overweight are not limited to health. Significant economic costs are incurred due to increased costs of care and morbidity, as well as lost productivity.

Evidence consistently indicates that health care costs of overweight and obese individuals are higher than those of the general population (Colagiuri et al. 2010; Hoque et al. 2016). One systematic review estimates obesity accounts for0.7% to 2.8% of a country’s total health expenditure (Withrow and Alter 2011).

Another review in 10 European countries shows obesity can account for 0.09% to 0.61% of gross domestic product (Müller Riemenschneider 2008) while others (Hoque 2016) identify economic burden to be between 1.5% to 9.9% of total health expenditure.

Drawing upon a wide array of experts from the region, the book by ADB called 'Wealthy but Unhealthy' compiles studies examining the trends and prevalence and economic costs of obesity and overweight, as well as policy recommendations.

This thought-provoking book is an invaluable resource and sets the foundation for future research and policy making.

The full book is available here.


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