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Despite global interest in health prevention and wellness, waistlines continue to expand, and as a result obesity and associated problems such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease are reaching alarming proportions, placing an increasing burden on state coffers. This newly published Strategy Briefing, Size Matters: The Global Fight against Obesity, examines trends in overweight and obesity, the ways in which consumers, governments and industry are responding to the crisis, and the opportunities facing brands in the weight management sector
Overweight and obesity – especially among children – have surged over the last decade, driven by over-consumption of high-calorie processed foods, and reduced physical activity. BMIs were highest in the USA, Mexico and Argentina in 2016.
Increased sugar consumption has been blamed by many for the rise in obesity and has taken over from saturated fats as enemy number one among health campaigners. Refined sugar is considered to be fattening, addictive and lacking in nutritional value.
Obesity is linked to a wide range of health problems, including type-2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, gallstones, certain cancers, sleep apnoea, infertility and depression. As a result, the burden to healthcare systems – and to companies through loss of labour – is increasing.
Consumers are embarking all manner of methods to counter the effects of over-eating, from miracle pills and fad diets to calorie counting, meal replacements, diet clubs, personal trainers and liposuction. However, the general trend in weight management is away from “quick-fix” solutions to gradual lifestyle improvements.
A generation of connected consumers is using GPS-enabled smart watches and apps to monitor weight, health and fitness. This is fuelling a trend towards customised solutions that include wellness coaches and personalised nutrition.
Governments are responding to the obesity crisis by implementing public health campaigns, sugar taxes, clearer food labelling and restrictions on the advertising of junk food to children. They are also pressurising Big Food to make sweet products healthier by reducing sugar content and portion sizes.
If you subscribe to Economies and Consumers, you can see the full report Size Matters: The Global Fight against Obesity and understand how the trends identified through our survey research and market analysis is impacting on global consumer markets.
Strategy Briefings offer unique insight into emerging trends worldwide. Aimed squarely at strategists and planners, they draw on Euromonitor International’s vast information resources and add new intensive research to give top line insight across markets and within consumer segments.