Reduction of malnutrition and obesity as a business opportunity

Malnutrition act as a brake in the development of individuals, regions and economics around the globe. Under-nutrition as dangerous as over nutrition (most cases of over nutrition comes with deficiency of nutrients and too much of calories). On global scale researchers looked at the impact of malnutrition on society and separate regions. But impact of malnutrition on business have gone largely unexplored.

According to recent research businesses that operate on low income and medium income countries collectively loose $130-$850 billion per year because worker’s malnutrition. This numbers represent only direct cost of certain forms of malnutrition in adults workforce. In research malnutrition related cost for kids in not calculated.

Overweight and obesity leads to companies’ losses too. Overweight workers are slow and need more resources (bigger working space, bigger uniform, bigger meals, higher cost of insurance, more fuel because of workers weight, etc). In developed countries overweight considered as normal thing and workers demand employers to change the working environment to fit heavier workforce. This is extra cost to business. Also simple phrase “you are overweight, that’s dangerous to your health, please loose .”weight” could create a lot of legal troubles.

Malnutrition leads to all type of health problems. But problem is not just lack of money, it’s also lack of understanding which nutrients needed on daily basis. I commonly see in India parents who feed cheap snacks to toddlers instead of feeding banana. Same price but parents don’t bother to educate about micronutrients, vitamins, amino acids, etc. As result weak bones, anemia, short height, mental weakness, etc.

Companies worldwide don’t understand the problem and underestimate financial losses because of it. There’s opportunity to businesses to tackle malnutrition but most executives distance themselves from workers health problems.

Article based on “The Business Case for Investment in nutrition”.

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