Increasing efforts to tackle obesity over the coming decades will form an important new investment theme for fund managers, according to a new Bank of America (BofA) Merrill Lynch Global Research report called 'Globesity – The Global Fight Against Obesity'.
"Global obesity is a mega-investment theme for the next 25 years and beyond," said Sarbjit Nahal, equity strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. "Obesity may be the most pressing health challenge facing the world today and efforts to tackle it will shape thinking by policy makers and in boardrooms around the world."
The report identifies the food industry and the commercial weight loss, diet management and nutrition industry as two areas with big potential for investors.
The report identifies that efforts to reduce obesity is a 'megatrend' with a shelf-life of 25-50 years. It charts the rise of obesity globally and the ballooning costs.
Globally, 500 million people are obese and 1.4 billion are overweight. Obesity is the fifth greatest cause of death, leading to 2.8 million fatalities each year. Worldwide prevalence of obesity doubled between 1980 and 2008, according to the World Health Organisation.
By 2030, 65 million more Americans will be obese if current trends continue. While its impact is well-known in the west, obesity is rising quickly around the world. Obesity in Europe has tripled in 30 years, and it's growing rapidly in emerging markets as diets westernise.
Brazil, where 16% of the population is obese, is on track to match US obesity levels by the 2020s. Obesity has reached levels of up to 20% in Chinese cities and 25% of Russian women are obese.
Source: BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
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