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Showing posts from November, 2014

Obesity ~ The McKinsey economic perspective

The McKinsey Global Institute produces a series of discussion papers funded solely by the McKinsey partners and very recently, they released a report entitled “Overcoming obesity: an initial economic analysis”. The report is divided into two main sections, one dealing with the economic burden of obesity and one dealing with the possible interventions to mitigate the economic costs of obesity. For anyone interested in the subject, I strongly advise accessing the PDF, which is available free[1].
The first point they note is that obesity does not appear to be correlated with a country’s wealth. Malaysia, Thailand and China have a much lower GDP per head of population than Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea and yet they have the same rates of obesity (5-15%). Equally, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong have one-third the obesity rates found in Saudi Arabia, the US and UK (30-35%) and yet they share the same GDP/head/year. Developing countries have obesity rates that are just 25% that of devel…

Sugar: Bad science ~ Great headlines

Just three weeks ago, the headlines of a popular British newspaper carried the banner headline on its front page linking fruit juice consumption with elevated blood pressure. It was based on a study reported in the generally well-regarded scientific journal Appetite and was conducted by researchers in Australia[1]. The sample was small, just 146 subjects and their diets were analysed using a food frequency questionnaire. The authors created three groups according to their intake of fruit juice: “Rarely”, with fruit juice intake ranging from 0 to less than 3 times per month, “Occasionally” ranging from once per week to 5-6 times per week and “Daily” corresponding to once per day to more than 3 times per day. They examined blood pressure using two techniques that measure central blood pressure and brachial blood pressure. The authors found no statistically significant effect of fruit juice consumption on brachial blood pressure but they did find a statistically significant effect of fru…