According to a report, obesity in Asia had reached “epidemic levels” in 20171. A report by the World Health Organization states that about 30% of Thailand’s population and 48% of Malaysia’s population suffers from obesity7. In the Philippines, 25% of the population is overweight2.
Seven & I’s subsidiary 7-Eleven is the largest convenience store chain in the world3. The company has 11,712 stores in Thailand, 2,411 in Malaysia, 2,864 in the Philippines and 9,364 in the US in 20204. Research shows that students with more than 24 convenience stores near their schools face a higher risk of obesity9. Although the US population is about 4.8 times higher than Thailand's, there are 2,348 more 7-Eleven stores in Thailand than in the US4. This significantly increases the chances of people being located near 7-Eleven stores in Thailand, thereby increasing their risk of obesity.
Popular food items sold at 7-Eleven are extremely high on calories7. According to a report by the “Sweet Enough Network”, 7-Eleven’s best-selling sugary beverages are an active contributor to the obesity pandemic in Southeast Asia7. 7-Eleven also actively encourages a high consumption of its goods through aggressive television marketing campaigns in Southeast Asia7.
Globally, 7-Eleven sells 14 million Slurpees per month5. One 44 oz (1.3 litres) serving of the Slurpee contains about 825 calories6. The company also sells about 45 million gallons (170.3 million litres) of Big Gulp Fountain soda per year, which can fill 68 Olympic-sized pools10. 8 oz (0.23 litres) of the Big Gulp sodas contains about 312 calories8. Such high-calorie foods may contribute to obesity, which increases mortality rate, along with the risk of hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol issues, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and stroke2.
7-Eleven should raise awareness about the health impact of its high-calorie foods to reduce the incidence of obesity in Southeast Asia.