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Obesity Costs More Than The Police, Fire Services, Law Courts And Prisons, Combined


A study commissioned by consultancy firm McKinsey and Company has revealed that obesity has the second-largest economic impact on the UK behind smoking, generating an annual loss equivalent to 3% of GDP.

This means that obesity within the UK has a greater impact on our economy than armed violence, war and terrorism – costing the country nearly £47 billion every year.

As well as this, the cost of obesity and diabetes to the NHS is equivalent to the UK’s combined budget for the police, fire services, law courts and prisons.

Staggeringly, the UK spends less that £638 million a year on obesity prevention programmes – 1.3% of the country’s social cost of obesity.

Approximately 8% of deaths within Europe are attributed to overweight and obesity.

Public Health England estimates that the direct NHS costs of treating overweight and obesity by 2050 would be £9.7 billion and the total UK costs would be £49.9 billion (at 2007 prices).

Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens claims that “Obesity is the new smoking. It is a slow-motion car crash in terms of avoidable illness and rising health care costs.”

With the escalating growth of cost to the UK, we ask, how much more are we prepared to spend on fixing an avoidable problem?

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