The rising prevalence of obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs – also known as chronic diseases) negatively affects economic growth through its impact on human capital. Being obese, defined as having a body mass index of over 30, increases the risk of premature death by almost 50% according to World Bank.
In addition to increased risk of premature death, obesity and NCDs can be linked to lower skill attainment, poor social competency, and poorer labor outcomes. And they negatively affects adult survival rate which is a key indicator in the Human Capital Index (HCI).
The direct impact of obesity and NCDs on human capital is early retirement or complete drop-out from labour market. In addition, there is a longer-term direct effect on human capital as both impact academic achievement.
There is also indirect impact of obesity on human capital such as the reducing of education investment in the next generation as resources are diverted away from education and towards treatment of the chronic illness.