The Lancet: The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change (2)

2 February, 2019

A few days I posted on HIFA about the publication of the latest Lancet Commission.

A key fact that I missed at the time was reported in the Financial Times Twitter feed today:

"The costs of obesity are estimated at $2 trillion a year from direct health-care costs and lost economic productivity, or 2.8 per cent of world GDP, says @TheLancet"

Returning to The Lancet Commission, I read:

"The current costs of obesity are estimated at about $2 trillion annually from direct health-care costs and lost economic productivity. These costs represent 2·8% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) and are roughly the equivalent of the costs of smoking or armed violence and war."

Also: "2 billion people have a micronutrient deficiency, and 815 million people are chronically undernourished [while] nearly 2 billion people are overweight or have obesity."

These statistics are mind-boggling.

The Financial Times article asks: Is Big Food ripe for the Big Tobacco treatment?

The answer is obvious, but this is a far bigger issue than Big Food. Better ways are needed for all of us global citizens to understand deeply the above statistics and their implications (together with the planetary health implications that result from overconsumption/intensive livestock farming, which will contribute to costs that could make $2 trillion annually look like small change).

HIFA is currently exploring the possibility of launching a new Environmental and Planetary Health project to explore how we can better address the health-related information needs of global citizens, health professionaols and policymakers. Please contact me for further information:

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: