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Obesity and its Costs: A Business Perspective

Posted Dec 04 2012 6:39am

obesity and its costs

The increase of obesity in Americans has created some unexpected expenses. Not only are people experiencing an increase in health costs, but fuel use and food consumption have risen. Airlines and trains are considering installing wider seats, which will be an expense which will undoubtedly be passed on to the consumer. Hospitals have also had to make accommodations for overweight patients, including wider beds, stronger lifts, and larger imaging equipment. Not only that, but on average obese people earn less than their thinner counterparts; a 2008 study showed that the average difference in pay is about $3.41 per hour.

However, some businesses have been busy taking advantage of the new profit opportunities opening up as the average person’s size increases. The clothing industry stands to gain from higher sales of plus sized clothing. Weight loss and fitness industries are showing record profits. Scientists project that 42% of Americans will be obese by 2030, which could reshape industry in new ways.

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