Reuters Reports On Obesity Talks At World Economic Forum

Reuters reports on discussions taking place at the World Economic Forum (WEF), taking place in Davos, Switzerland, this week, writing, “Obesity, a major factor in diabetes and heart disease, imposes costs on both public and private sectors and is a drag on economic growth, but business leaders meeting in Davos can’t agree on what they can or should do to address it.” The news service continues, “One look at the list of the strategic partners of the WEF shows how many vested interests are at play — food and drink companies are blamed for feeding the crisis, while drug manufacturers profit from soaring rates of diabetes.” Reuters adds, “There are also issues of consumer choice to take into account, and the fact that companies selling calorie-dense foods often also make a range of healthier alternatives.”

“The WEF will host a private meeting on ‘healthy living’ on Saturday of key players including executives from the food, health care and agriculture sectors as well as health regulators and ministers, seeking to get agreement on concrete action,” according to Reuters, which quotes a number of health specialists and industry executives regarding possible approaches to curbing the problem. “The WEF estimates a cumulative $47 trillion of output might be lost in the next 20 years due to non-communicable diseases and mental health problems, with obesity to blame for 44 percent of the diabetes burden and 23 percent of heart disease costs,” the news service notes (Thomasson, 1/24).