The price is high: the cost of poor diets and physical inactivity

Poor diets and physical inactivity generate about 30% of the global disease burden and account for nearly two in five deaths worldwide. However, little is known about the economic toll of these risk factors. This could be important for setting the right priorities and investing in effective programmes that promote healthy diets and stimulate physical activity.

This study reviews the work that has been done to estimate the economic cost of poor diets and physical inactivity. It shows how complex it is and finds that much of the challenge in assembling useful evidence is linked to variations in definitions and measurement techniques. Diabetes is used as an example to develop a revised approach and measurement.