Globesity is a conversation about finance, not health
By Emily Hutto
Clearly we aren’t hearing the media about our health. Maybe we’ll listen when it comes to our finances.
Perhaps you’ve noticed the new word “globesity” that seems to have hit mainstream media in the past few weeks. Merrill Lynch coined this term when they published the new report “Globesity –The Global Fight Against Obesity."
The report reveals statistics about world health that are hard to swallow – pun intended. It says that across the globe, 500 million people are obese and that obesity is the fifth-greatest cause of death in the world.
I wish I could say these statistics are surprising, but when I look around in almost any public environment, expanded waistlines and soft drinks are everywhere. The countless fast food restaurants lining most city streets and highways (not to mention the advertisements for them) are pretty obvious. Portions seem bigger at restaurants, and I won’t even get into the lack of balance of food groups on most of those plates.
In past years, I’ve noticed a variety of efforts from the media and public officials to combat the obesity epidemic. On a small scale, many publications are attempting to educate the masses about the sugar content in soda and the importance of cardiovascular activity. More broadly, we see many political figures speaking out about the issue. Michelle Obama is even campaigning for a new food pyramid.
The new report from Merrill Lynch, though, looks at globesity through a financial lens, rather than a health-centric one. It says there will be merit for investors who focus on four economic sectors that are fighting the battle against obesity:
1. Health care: Many companies and organizations are taking on obesity research and developing new pharmaceuticals for related health problems. Some other companies are specializing in wider doors and bigger beds in ambulances.
2. Food: The health and wellness market is worth $663 billion, says the report, and a lot of companies in the food industry want a piece of that.
3. Commercial weight loss and nutrition: Increasingly important is providing individuals with tools to lose the weight. This industry is currently worth $4 million in the United States, and growing fast.
4. Sports apparel and equipment: Individuals losing weight need the gear to do it. The report predicts that as communities get more mindful about exercise, they’re going to need the clothes and equipment to make it happen.
The underlying message in the report: Invest in these four booming sectors. If trends continue, it predicts, 65 million more Americans will be obese by 2030.
The reports I’ve read about the disgusting ingredients in fast food, our increased risk of heart failure and our destructive sedentary lifestyles don’t seem to be doing the trick to change our behavior. Clearly we aren’t hearing the media about our health. Maybe we’ll listen when it comes to our finances.