What is the Full Cost of Obesity in the UK?

What is the Full Cost of Obesity in the UK?


Hugh Pym, the BBC’s health editor, published a disturbingly shocking article yesterday on the effects of obesity on the UK economy.

The article arrives from figures distributed by the McKinsey Global Institute, stating that obesity within the UK costs the economy around £47bn. With such a high number, this research indicates that obesity causes the UK more economic problems than both alcoholism and climate change.

So what can be done? Where does the responsibility lie? Some have suggested that less emphasis should be placed on the individual and more should be done to address the issue on a national scale. With nearly 30% of the world’s population being overweight or obese, this isn’t just a UK-based concern.

But how does being obese affect the economic downturn of the UK? Financial costs, such as health care, greatly affect the National Health Service, with research indicating that there could be savings of £760m per year, if correct and effective measures were put in place. Businesses and companies also suffer through obesity. Time off work resulting from obese health related problems, such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, causes loss of output for many places of work.

Some ideas have been put forward, such as portion control for packaged food and new formulations for processed, junk food, but it’s clear that a more effective, active strategy and approach needs to be followed. Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, backs this idea up, stating that there simply can’t be a clear-cut solution and that a number of processes need to be put in place.

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