Report: Global obesity costs hits $2 trillion

LONDON — The global cost of obesity has risen to $2 trillion annually — nearly as much as smoking or the combined impact of armed violence, war, and terrorism, according to a report released Thursday.

The McKinsey Global Institute consulting firm report focused on the economics of obesity, putting it among the top three social problems generated by human beings. It set its impact at 2.8 percent of global gross domestic product.

‘‘Obesity isn’t just a health issue,’’ one of the report’s authors, Richard Dobbs, said in a podcast. ‘‘It’s a major economic and business challenge.’’

The company says 2.1 billion people — about 30 percent of the global population — are overweight or obese and about 15 percent of health care costs in developed economies are driven by it.


In emerging markets, as countries get richer, the rate of obesity rises to the same level as that found in more developed countries. The report offers the stark prediction that nearly half the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese by 2030 should present trends continue.

‘‘We are on an unfortunate trajectory,’’ Dobbs said. ‘‘We have to act.’’

Associated Press