The Indirect Costs of Obesity to Society

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Losses in productivity due to illnesses associated with obesity are considerable. In addition, significant social costs resulting from underachievement in education, reduced social activity and job discrimination can be incurred. While social class appears to influence the prevalence of obesity, obesity has, in turn, an influence on social class, probably through employment discrimination; obese men and women have lower status jobs, a situation that is perpetuated through lower status marriages.

A comprehensive review of both the direct and indirect consequences of this condition is necessary to identify the most appropriate measures to be taken, e.g. mass education to heighten social awareness and sensitivity. These issues should be considered in the formulation of policies and activities aimed at preventing obesity.

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