Would taxes on unhealthy food help reverse the obesity epidemic? Obesity Update – OECD

Check out the latest global update on obesity from OECD. It makes really interesting reading.

Here is a quick recap on the OECD’s findings on obesity and the economics of prevention:

  1. At least one in two people is now overweight or obese in over half of OECD countries. Rates are projected to increase further and in some countries two out of three people will be obese within ten years.
  2. The latest data show a slowdown of the epidemic in several countries, with virtually stable rates in Korea, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary and England over the past ten years, and mild increases in France and Spain. However, larger increases were recorded in Ireland, Canada and United States.
  3. An obese person incurs 25% higher health expenditures than a person of normal weight in any given year. Obesity is responsible for 1-3% of total health expenditures in most OECD countries (5-10% in the United States). Obese people earn up to 18% less than non-obese people.
  4. Poorly educated women are two to three times more likely to be overweight than those with high levels of education, but almost no disparities are found for men. OECD countries have made no progress in tackling these disparities.
  5. A comprehensive prevention strategy would avoid, every year, 155 000 deaths from chronic diseases in Japan, 75 000 in Italy, 70 000 in England, 55 000 in Mexico and 40 000 in Canada.
  6. The annual cost of such strategy would be USD 12 per capita in Mexico, USD 19 in Japan and England, USD 22 in Italy and USD 32 in Canada. The cost per life year gained through prevention is less than USD 20 000 in these five countries.

Why is David Cameron‘s UK Government not doing more to tackle obesity when his Government’s austerity policies are cutting front-line services? Also who is lobbying whom for the preservation of the status quo?

What do you think?

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Demographic Changes a Key Factor in Slowing Economic Growth – NYTimes.com

English: World GDP growth rate and GDP growth ...

English: World GDP growth rate and GDP growth rate of total OECD countries. Data source: World Bank Group and OECD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a very interesting article in the Economix blog in the NYT. Check it out.

Demographic Changes a Key Factor in Slowing Economic Growth – NYTimes.com.

If you are interested, Economix will be running a series of related article next week.

Personally, I am passionately interested in growth. I probably feel just as strongly about austerity being the wrong solution, without stimulating growth. Regular readers of this blog will b familiar with my views.

God help the middle class

God help the middle class (Photo credit: maistora)

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