“Increasing efforts to tackle obesity over the coming decades will form an important new investment theme for fund managers…Global obesity is a mega-investment theme for the next 25 years and beyond…The report…identifies that efforts to reduce obesity is a “megatrend” with a shelf-life of 25 to 50 years…BofA Merrill Lynch analysts across several sectors have collaborated to identify the sectors and companies developing long-term solutions.”
Given the worldwide increase in obesity, its high prospective costs, and the ever-present threat of government regulation, the report identifies more than 50 global stocks that provide investment opportunities for fighting “globesity.” These fall into four categories:
- Pharmaceuticals and Health Care: companies taking advantage of the FDA’s increased support for obesity drug development; tackling related medical conditions and needs including diabetes, kidney failure, hip and knee implants; making equipment such as patient lifts, bigger beds and wider ambulance doors.
- Food: companies accessing the $663 billion “health and wellness” market and reformulating portfolios to respond to increasing pressure such as “fat taxes” to reduce sugar and fat levels.
- Commercial Weight Loss, Diet Management and Nutrition: companies pursuing dieting, nutrition and behavioral change—a $4 billion market in the U.S. and growing globally.
- Sports Apparel and Equipment: “This is the longer-term play, but we believe that promoting physical activity will become a key priority for more government health policies.”
Well, that’s one way to look at it. Public health, anyone?
Marion Nestle is the author of What To Eat and is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. Nestle blogs regularly at Food Politics.