Obesity costs the NHS £2.5 billion a year but ageing population is the real ticking time bomb

IEA releases report showing the net cost of obesity to public services is less than £2.5 billion a year

iea

Image source: IEA

This is the first study to estimate the annual savings that overweight and obese people bring UK taxpayers by dying prematurely (in 2016 prices). Ignoring these savings leads to substantial overestimation of the true burden of elevated body mass index (BMI) to the taxpayer. Our estimate of the present value of pension, healthcare and other benefit payments avoided through early, BMI-caused deaths (net of foregone tax payments) is £3.6 billion per annum. This paper argues the ‘burden-on-the-taxpayer’ narrative, propagated by public health campaigners, is overblown. While claims of a crippling cost are a good way to get media attention, especially during a time of slow motion crisis in the NHS, they irresponsibly incite resentment of a vulnerable group.

Read the full report here

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