Opportunity in obesity, predicts BofA Merrill Lynch research

Research into the causes and outcomes of global obesity by Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research predicts that it will become one of the key investment themes over the coming 25-50 years.

The rate of obesity levels in countries such as the US, Brazil, China, Russia, and much of Europe has doubled or tripled in the past 30 years, posing a significant health risk.

It is estimated that 500 million people worldwide are already obese, with 1.4 billion overweight. Obesity is currently estimated as the fifth leading cause of death, causing 2.8 million fatalities annually.

BofA ML said that the costs associated with treating obesity are creating significant investment opportunities in the fields of healthcare and pharmacueticals, food, commercial weight loss programmes, and sports equipment, with 50 global stocks identified as offering “key entry points” into the area.

The US Food and Drug Administration is starting to take a more lenient line against weight loss drugs, while providers of patient lifts, beds and ambulances will need to provide stronger products.

Processed food manufacturers are having to adjust their portfolios of products in response to the threat of so-called fat taxes.

Commercial weight loss programmes – dieting – is already a $4bn annual market in the US alone, the research notes.

And long term populations are likely to spend more on sports equipment as part of the focus on maintaining healthier lifestyles.

To read the full research report click here: [asset_library_tag 5641,Globesity]

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