Does the Obesity Epidemic Offer Opportunity for Growth? | ETF Trends

With obesity rates anticipated to grow, SLIM – The Obesity ETF, is catching the attention of investors with a thematic ETF that includes companies projected to benefit as they battle the obesity epidemic.

The fund invests the majority of its assets in stocks that comprise the Solactive Obesity Index, which tracks the performance of companies that are positioned to profit from servicing the obese population. Approximately 44% of the underlying index was represented by companies in the health care equipment industry, according to Janus Henderson Investors.

With obesity levels projected to be the highest in the United States, where 47% of the population is expected to be obese by 2030, companies positioned to profit include those treating disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, and sleep apnea. SLIM seeks exposure to such companies and also includes companies focused on weight loss programs, supplements, and plus-sized apparel.

“When you are talking about obesity, there is an under-penetration from a treatment perspective,” Vijay Kumar, managing director for medical supplies, devices and life science and diagnostic tools at Evercore, told TheStreet. “Worldwide, obesity has tripled since 1975 — and given lifestyles, it is not changing for the next 20 years in terms of market growth.”

Research firms are taking notice with other funds jumping on the obesity investment bandwagon. Evercore ISI recently debuted the EISI Obesity Index to track the performance of stocks in the drug and medical-device sectors poised to profit as obesity rates climb.

“While health care stocks have been a bright spot, outrunning the S&P 1500 by 12.7%, the Obesity Index, in turn, has outperformed the S&P 1500 Health Care Index, beating it by 54% since 2017,” according to

Yet, investors are cautiously optimistic about obesity investing. “While the results are encouraging, obesity investing is not a silver bullet or a guarantee of big, short-term gains, but rather like the epidemic itself, a long-term investment play,” according to experts.

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