Some 51% of the global population – or more than 4bn people – will be overweight or living with obesity within 12 years if current trends prevail. This is according to the World Obesity Atlas 2023, published by the World Obesity Federation, which also predicts that the global economic impact of excess weight and obesity will reach US$4.32tn annually by 2035 if prevention and treatment measures do not improve. At almost 3% of global GDP, this is comparable with the impact of Covid-19 in 2020. Other key findings include:
- Childhood obesity could more than double by 2035 (from 2020 levels). Rates are predicted to double among boys to 208mn (100% increase) and more than double among girls to 175mn (125%) and are rising more rapidly among children than adults
- Lower income countries are facing rapid increases in obesity prevalence. Of the 10 countries with the greatest expected increases in obesity globally (for adults & children), nine of those are from low or lower-middle income countries. All are from Asia or Africa
The World Obesity Federation calls for comprehensive national action plans to help countries act on new World Health Organization Recommendations for the Prevention & Management of Obesity. The Atlas report will be presented at a high-level policy event on 6th March 2023 to UN policymakers, member states and civil society.
Nicholas Hall Writes: This week’s column is all about opportunities. And as I put my mind more and more to the New Paradigms 2023 report, scheduled for publication in July, I envisage a feature called “10 Steps to Heaven”, which will show the greatest sources of growth either by category or marketing strategy. A good example of this will be trying to understand how weight loss products can meet the needs of consumers.
Last week we wrote about the mounting problem of obesity, and my colleague Victoria Blake observed that there are 2bn overweight people on the face of this planet. The latest report warns that in 12 years that number could double, with 51% of the world’s population in the overweight or obese categories, with a huge incidence among children. With an absence of really effective pharmaceutical products – and as mediaeval torture instruments like the gastric band provide the only truly effective outcomes – this is surely a need that requires the combined creativity of our industry. Almost all weight loss products have failed, but there are some chinks of light. Weight Watchers seems to have achieved success over many years by putting more emphasis on the lifestyle aspects of losing weight, rather than a miracle ingredient.
Put more crudely, consumers respond better to being “nagged” than tantalised by a wonder product. Of course, there has to be a product or else there is no reason for any manufacturer to invest in nagging. And nagging was behind the past success of the Tony Ferguson Weight Loss System in Australia, which worked for consumers, delivered an amazing source of new profitability to those pharmacists who fully participated in the nagging process, and built a very successful business for Tony Ferguson himself, who was not a marketing guru but a pharmacist with two retail outlets.
The next issue of our sister publication CHC.NewDirections on 7th March leads with a focus on Nestlé Health Science’s collaborative efforts in identifying and testing weight loss solutions. NHSc and biotech start-up EraCal Therapeutics have entered into a research collaboration aiming to identify novel nutraceuticals relevant to control food intake, while Biomedical company Epitomee and NHSc have finalised patient enrolment for a study involving Epitomee’s weight loss capsule.