Obesity Will Cost $4T Annually by 2035

The obesity epidemic is only getting worse.

Weigh In

A new World Obesity Federation report revealed the staggering scale of the crisis.

  • By 2035, 51% of the world’s population, or 4B+ people, will be overweight or obese.
  • The economic toll could reach $4.32T annually during the same period, accounting for 3% of global GDP.

A troubling trend, obesity is rising fastest among children and adolescents — with rates expected to grow twofold or more between 2020 and 2035.

Sounding the Alarm 

Calling on policymakers to take swift action, WOF chief executive Johanna Ralston says societal failures, not personal choices, are to blame.

“Let’s be clear: the economic impact of obesity is not the fault of individuals living with the disease. It is a result of high-level failures to provide the environmental, healthcare, food, and support systems that we all need to live happy, healthy lives.”  

A hot-button issue, the role of personal responsibility, government policy, and medical intervention is reframing the obesity debate.

  • Especially in the US, we live in an obesogenic environment where ultra-processed foods devoid of nutritional value are prevalent.
  • Federal policy, Big Food influences, and a host of socioeconomic factors make lifestyle interventions exceedingly difficult.
  • Cashing in, Big Pharma is seizing a burgeoning market for prescription weight loss drugs set to reach $50B by 2030.

Looking ahead: As the WOF report stresses, we can’t ignore the obesity epidemic any longer. But, solving the root causes—including a broken food system, lack of physical activity, and structural inequities—won’t come easy.

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