News & Views

Macro Trend: The Obesity Epidemic

The obesity epidemic is a major driver of change in both food and health care.

  • •   Threatening to overwhelm the U.S. healthcare system (obesity underlays 21% of all U.S. health care costs)
  • •   No effective pharmaceutical solution – diet and exercise remain the only effective control points.
  • •   Major public policy issue from the White House on down.
  • •   FDA initiatives in labeling, including 13 proposed changes in Nutrition Facts such as “added sugar.”
  • •   The explosive growth of China’s emerging middle class: 500 million more by 2025.
  • •   Health claims on food expanding with clinical support – now 43% of food products carry a health claim.
  • •   Companies are increasingly developing products that target health-conscious consumers.

In 1985, there was no state with an obesity level greater than 14%.


By 2010, there was no state with an obesity level less than 20%.

Source: The Parthenon Group presentation “Picking Winners in Food & Nutrition Investments” dated April 2014.

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