Weighing the cost of obesity: A case for action

Weighing the cost of obesity: A case for action

A study on the additional costs of obesity and benefits of intervention in Australia.

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Obesity is an increasingly serious issue for many nations across the world, including Australia. More than a quarter of Australia’s adult population is obese, one of the highest prevalence rates in the world. Obesity leads to higher health and quality of life risks for individuals and major additional economic costs to society.

The PwC report Weighing the cost of obesity: A case for action takes a bottom up approach to a cost-benefit analysis (linked to Body Mass Index) that shows how the costs vary among the three classes of obesity. Additionally, we looked at the impact of three different scenarios on Australia through to 2025, including taking no further action, implementing some of the most prospective obesity interventions and halting the growth of obesity prevalence.

If we do nothing more than what we do now, obesity prevalence rates and costs will continue to increase through to 2025 and be a serious burden on society. The report reveals that implementing a bundle of interventions would lead to an economic benefit to society in a relatively short time frame. However, although the bundle of interventions identified would be cost effective, they would not be enough to halt the growth in obesity. We will have to do much more if we are to meet the WHO target of halting the growth in obesity. Obesity is a complex issue that goes beyond a simple lack of self-control. There needs to be additional research to understand the issue, particularly in the areas of obesity prevention and the major challenge of weight regain.

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