With an estimated $450 billion in indirect costs as of 2010, obesity is big business. This infographic by Top-Nursing-Programs.com illustrates the impact of overweight and obesity rates in America.
Over two-thirds of U.S. residents over the age of 20 are overweight, which presents a prime market for entrepreneurs. To respond to this cultural shift, hospitals have needed to invest in plus-sized wheelchairs, mini-cranes, and new imaging equipment for MRIs and CT scans that can handle over 350 pounds. The diet industry has also blossomed into a $61 billion industry with $40 billion spent on diet products alone as of 2008.
Our widening waistlines have affected other areas of life as well. Airline passengers gained about 10 pounds between 1990 and 2000; accordingly, airlines used 350 million extra gallons of fuel. American drivers consume 938 million extra gallons of gas a year -- some $4 billion in gasoline costs -- solely due to increased passenger weight. New Jersey Transit seats are being widened by 2.2 inches; in New York, officials are pondering a maximum seat capacity of 400 pounds for commuter trains.
See the full infographic below. How do you think we should solve the obesity epidemic?
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