11 Ways To Invest In The War Against Obesity

Photo: Flickr / lu_lu

Over the past 30 years, global obesity rates have doubled, and 500 million people across the globe are currently labelled as obese.According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategist Sarbjit Nahal, roughly half of the global population could be obese by 2030.

In June, Nahal and his team published a massive 141-page report titled Globesity – The Global Fight Against Obesity.

The report includes their “Global Fighting Obesity Exposure” stock list, which consists of over 50 companies making money on the war against obesity.

We pulled the 11 stocks, which BofA identified as having “High” exposure.  We also include BofA analysts’ current ratings on the stocks.

Arena Pharmaceuticals

Ticker: ARNA

Rating: Underperform

Arena fights obesity through its obesity drug lorcaserin. This drug reduces appetite or food consumption, and has recently been approved by the FDA.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Novo Nordisk

Ticker: NOVO (Denmark)

Rating: Buy

Novo Nordisk is a world leader in insulin and diabetes care. The company's drug, Victoza, has three key market opportunities in obesity. Obese diabetics, obese pre-diabetes, and obese with other co-morbities.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Orexigen Therapeutics

Ticker: OREX

Rating: Buy

Orexigen fights obesity through its drug Contrave. Trial runs for the drug are now set, and the company has worked with several healthcare systems to accelerate the enrollment rate of the trial. Orexigen has also announced a partnership to develop an exercise program that allows patients to set goals and track progress.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Stryker Corp

Ticker: SYK

Rating: Buy

Stryker Corp uses orthopedics and medical equipment to counter obesity. The company is a top-5 orthopedic device manufacturer. Attacking osteoarthritis and other such joint problems allows overweight people to exercise more freely.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Vivus Inc

Ticker: VVUS

Rating: Buy

Vivus' drug Qnexa has had clinical trials that have shown weight loss under treatment and in February 2012 FDA advisors recommended that the FDA adopt this drug as obesity treatment.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Zimmer

Ticker: ZMH

Rating: Buy

Zimmer is the number two ranked orthopedic device manufacturer, and similar to Stryker, its products should allow the obese to exercise more regularly due to its products assisting arthritic joints.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Danone

Ticker: BN (France)

Rating: Buy

Danone has a health and wellness strategy including products complying with regulatory nutritional standards and a nutrition book. The company also offers products that meet special dietary and nutrition needs as well as products that provide functional benefits for consumers with metabolic conditions such as high cholesterol.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Dole Foods

Ticker: DOLE

Rating: Underperform

Dole offers several healthy fruits and vegetables that help combat obesity. The introduction of its fruit bowls and increased nutrition education systems also help in attacking obesity.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Seneca Foods Corp

Ticker: SENEA

Rating: Underperform

Seneca is one of the world's leading producers of canned fruits and vegetables, which are directly linked to lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity. Seneca's products compare favourably with competitors in terms of their nutritional profile.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Herbalife

Ticker: HLF

Rating: Buy

Herbalife fights obesity through global weight management and targeted nutrition. It has products such as protein shakes, snacks, energy and fitness supplements, and personal care products that help attack obesity.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Weight Watchers

Ticker: WTW

Rating: Buy

Weight Watchers offers dieting products and services to assist in weight loss to help form helpful healthy habits. Weight Watchers focuses on nutrition and inspiring consumers to exercise regularly on top of eating healthy.

Source: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

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