21 November 2014 by Neil Boston
McKinsey report highlights scale of obesity epidemic
This week McKinsey Global Institute published a report into the obesity epidemic around the world and forecast that by 2030 around half of all people in the world will be overweight or obese, at present it’s about 30%. This already makes it one of the top 3 global cost burdens ranking just behind smoking and armed conflict.
What could be done about it?
McKinsey examined 74 possible interventions in 18 different areas including public health campaigns, school curriculum, parental education, healthier meals, pharmaceuticals, surgery, food labelling, portion control, active transport, food reformulation and weight management programmes.
What should be done about it?
McKinsey found sufficient evidence to be able to measure the cost of delivering 44 of these interventions and the associated benefits. If all of these measures were implemented, they estimate 20% of the UK’s obese and overweight people would return to a normal weight within 5 years. The effect on these people would be longer, healthier lives. The effect on the nation’s economy would be a saving of £765 million every year.
Which are the best interventions?
McKinsey grouped the interventions into 18 categories. Each of these was given a rating based on strength of evidence with the only top-rated interventions being surgery, pharmaceuticals and weight management programmes. They also estimated the impact on population health of the measures and their relative benefits were:
Weight management programmes 2.25
Which would you choose?
If you are, or if you become overweight or obese, which intervention would you decide to take to get back to normal weight? Drugs, surgery or a weight management programme. Clearly, only you can say and all I will add is that I hope you don’t have to make this decision. Of course, if you want help with weight management or any other aspect of your physical health, we will be delighted to talk to you and to help you if you think we are the right people to do so.