That is according to a new study by Mckinsey and Company which found that reversing obesity in the UK could save the NHS around £776m each year.
The study calls upon restaurants to reduce portion sizes of meals and snacks and to display nutrition information and label foods that can be regulated by government on menus and shelf-choices in grab and go restaurants and fast food outlets.
Traffic light labels
It recommends “traffic light” labels on restaurant menus that give aggregate calorie information to better inform diners of their meal choices.
The report says that obesity, which is responsible for 5% of all deaths worldwide, should be preventable but it will take a combined effort bygovernments, retailers, consumer-goods companies, restaurants, employers, media organizations, educators, health-care providers, or individuals to tackle the problem.
The report says: “More than 2.1 billion people—close to 30 percent of the global population—today are overweight or obese. That’s nearly an estimated two and a half times the number of people in the world—adults and children—who are undernourished. And the obesity problem is getting worse, and rapidly. If the growth rate in the prevalence of obesity continues on its current trajectory, almost half of the world’s adult population is projected to be overweight or obese by 2030.”
“The toll of obesity on health-care systems alone is between 2 and 7 percent of all health-care spending in developed economies. That does not include the large cost of treating associated diseases, which takes the health-care cost toll up to 20 percent by some estimates. There is growing evidence, too, that the productivity of employees is being undermined by obesity, compromising the competitiveness of companies.”
It says if the UK deployed all the interventions it has available the effects of obesity could be reversed in 20% of the population within five to 10 years, which would make savings of around $25 billion a year, including a saving of about $1.2 billion a year for the NHS.