Obesity is weighing on education, productivity and the economy


The world is officially obese, and that’s bad for health, education and economic growth, according to the OECD.

More than half of people in 34 of its 36 member countries are overweight, and almost half of those are obese, the Paris-based group said in a study published Thursday. Adding to health concerns, it said childhood and morbid obesity have gone from a “rare event to a common occurrence.”

In addition to personal wellbeing and reduced life expectancy, the growing problem is holding back economic growth and putting additional pressure on government budgets, according to the OECD. In total, member countries are spending about $311 billion per year on treating overweight and related conditions.

The analysis concludes those adults who are overweight are less productive and more likely to be absent from work, while children do less well at school.

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