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A Long-Term Trend Offering Investment Opportunity

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One long-term trend that may not be good for our country but may offer opportunity is growth in global obesity.

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As an active but long-term investor, I believe in identifying long-term investment themes is a key element to success. One long-term trend that may offer investment opportunity is growth in global obesity.

Just looking at the US, a recent report by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says that since 1980 the adult obesity rate has doubled and rates for children have tripled. The report states that approximately 36% of adults are obese today, and that percentage could grow to 44% by 2030 if the current trends continue. Obesity-related medical costs are forecast to rise by $48 billion dollars to $66 billion a year over the same time period. Further, the report connects obesity to economic productivity, and says a heavier population could result in productivity losses of $390 to $580 billion per year.

[Editor's note: Several widely cited reports include Mexico, the UK, Slovakia, and Greece in the list of top-5 countries with obese adults, including those used for this article. The discrepancies are usually due to weather; a report cites medically measured data, self-reported data, or a combination of both. Using medically confirmed data, for instance, the OECD says the US and Mexico are joined by New Zealand, Chile, and Australia. By all accounts, however, the trend towards obesity is growing in populations outside the US.]


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