The Heavy Burden of Obesity

The Economics of Prevention

image of The Heavy Burden of Obesity

Almost one in four people in OECD countries is currently obese. This epidemic has far-reaching consequences for individuals, society and the economy. Using microsimulation modelling, this book analyses the burden of obesity and overweight in 52 countries (including OECD, European Union and G20 countries), showing how overweight reduces life expectancy, increases healthcare costs, decreases workers' productivity and lowers GDP. The report makes the urgent economic case to scale up investments in policies to promote healthy lifestyles and tackle this growing global public health problem. The book evaluates a number of policies which could significantly improve health outcomes while being an excellent investment for countries.


Promoting healthier diets and active lifestyles: Policies and best practices

Overweight is a serious public health problem requiring a co-ordinated, multi-sectoral response. This chapter provides a broad overview of existing policy approaches, both national and international, aimed at improving diet and encouraging physical activity in OECD, EU28 and Group of 20 (G20) countries. Particular attention is paid to policies that are either innovative, or have a solid evidence base for their effectiveness, including policies that aim to influence lifestyle choices through information and education; policies that expand healthy choice options; policies designed to modify the costs of health-related choices, and policies aimed at regulating or restricting unhealthy options. Both the opportunities presented by the introduction of the selected policies, as well as the challenges associated with their implementation, are discussed.



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