The Cost of Globesity

by Peter Davis, CEO and Kathie Davis on Sep 27, 2012


We often discuss the health costs of the worldwide spread of obesity, or “globesity,” but we haven’t recently examined the literal costs of what the epidemic is doing to our pocketbooks or to the economy in general.

The stats we read on the topic in Globesity—the Global Fight Against Obesity,” a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report released in June, are pretty staggering. When equity managers are looking at the problem in terms of investment opportunities, one realizes just how dire things have become. The spreading sickness of obesity and everything it touches—from how much gasoline and jet fuel we consume because of our collective heaviness, to the types of toilets that need to be retrofitted in public buildings and hospitals because of weight issues—is serious business. Very sadly, there is money to be made from the sickness caused by poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.

Here are just a few of the themes from the B of A–Merrill report that money managers consider when evaluating and recommending investments for their customers:

  • Obesity rates have doubled over the past 30 years; globally 1.4 billion people are overweight and 500 million obese, according to the World Health Organization. By 2030, 50%–60% of the population in many countries are on target to be classified as obese.
  • The annual cost of obesity-related illness in the U.S. alone is estimated at $190 billion, or nearly 21% of the country’s annual medical spending. Future health, social and economic costs could be overwhelming, especially given high levels of global childhood obesity and growing obesity in emerging markets.
  • As was the case with smoking and secondhand smoke, B of A–Merrill analysts believe, the growing cost burden of obesity—on governments, corporations and both the obese and nonobese—will spur collective action, including greater regulation, to fight obesity.
  • Analysts have mapped obesity investment opportunities across four main sectors as potential entry points for investors: (1) pharmaceuticals and health care; (2) food; (3) commercial weight loss, diet management and nutrition; and (4) sports apparel and equipment.

We know that as fitness and wellness professionals, you believe in making a different kind of investment in obesity. Rather than throwing dollars at a stock for the next pharmaceutical wonder that promises to burn fat magically or to regulate diabetes, your portfolio is founded on investing money and time in your continuing education. You invest blood, sweat and tears into your clients to see them through their challenges and inspire them toward their goals. Every day, you invest yourselves 100% in improving quality of life for those you serve.

We salute your dedication, and we are committed to helping you continue to build your businesses and to be successful. We choose to invest in you.

Client Challenges Powered by ChallengeLoop

Part of moving the needle on globesity is challenging your clients to push to new levels with diet and exercise and make the changes to which their bodies will respond. However, as you know, making changes can be really difficult! Issuing fun challenges can help clients get and stay motivated to exercise and eat healthfully. With that in mind, in July we launched a new tool you can use through IDEA FitnessConnect: the Client Challenges tool, powered by ChallengeLoop, a new iPhone and Web app that will make challenges even more effective for your clients and give you a way to interact with them on a more regular basis.

IDEA’s new Client Challenges tool helps you combine the power of challenges with the effectiveness of coaching—and it’s free! This tool makes it easy for you to challenge your clients to anything. You choose the reward; give the play-by-play with photos and videos; and share your (or your clients’) victories.

You can access the ChallengeLoop application through the Client Challenges tool on the IDEA website. Log into your IDEA account page on and look for “Client Challenges” under “Quick Links” on the left-hand side of the page.

From there it will be easy to challenge your IDEA FitnessConnect clients and leads on ChallengeLoop. You can also access ChallengeLoop by downloading the iPhone app in the app store.

Yours in good health,

Kathie & Peter Davis

IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 9, Issue 10

© 2012 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Authors

Peter Davis, CEO

Peter Davis, CEO IDEA Author/Presenter

Peter Davis is the chief executive officer of IDEA Health & Fitness Association.

Kathie Davis

Kathie Davis IDEA Author/Presenter

Kathie Davis is executive director of IDEA Health & Fitness Association in San Diego. She frequently reports to the media on fitness industry trends.