Cost of obesity on the rise


Cost of obesity on the rise
Today is the third World Obesity Day, which aims to reverse the global obesity crisis by helping people achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

A study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 27.4% of Australian women and 28.4% of Australian men are obese. Across the ditch in New Zealand, statistics show that 32.6% of women and 30.5% of men are obese.

Shocking statistics from the World Obesity Federation reveal that by 2025 the number of adults that are overweight or obese globally will reach 2.7 billion. If preventative measures are not taken, the yearly medical costs for treating obesity-related diseases will top US$1.2 trillion by this time. In New Zealand, the cost of obesity will reach US$3.5 billion by 2015, while in Australia it will reach $17 billion.

Diseases relating to obesity include diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, depression and various types of cancer. Treating obesity and reducing it by just 5% would significantly decrease global costs, re-targeting New Zealand fees to US$0.5 billion annually. “Obesity is now a worldwide epidemic which absorbs a vast amount of our healthcare resources,” says President of the World Obesity Federation, Professor Ian Caterson. “The annual medical costs of treating the consequences of obesity such as diabetes and heart disease is truly alarming.”

Health officials around the world are urging governments to fund efforts to reduce obesity immediately, in order to prevent things from escalating. Investing in preventative measures and treatment services will help to manage the level of overweight and obese people and subsequently manage costs. “Continual surveillance by World Obesity has shown how obesity prevalence has risen dramatically over the past 10 years and with an estimated 177 million adults suffering severe obesity by 2025, it is clear that Governments need to act now to reduce this burden on their national economies,” Caterson says.

Child obesity is another growing fact, which causes poor health both early on and later in life. “The absolute numbers of overweight children [are] expected to exceed the numbers of undernourished children within the next few years,” says World Obesity Foundation’s Dr Tim Lobstein.

World Obesity Day is the perfect opportunity to examine your lifestyle choices and see what you can do to improve your health and fitness. If you are not overweight or obese, helping those around you tackle weight problems is important.

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