Successful economy breeds fat

Less physical labor. Fewer places to walk to. Easier-to-get, faster-to-prepare, higher-fat food. Corn syrup in everything. Suburban sprawl. Expensive gym fees, combined with less leisure time. Even the shop-from-your-easy-chair Internet. It all adds up to a bunch of overweight Americans. But the growing numer of obesity-related industries are getting fat and happy, too. The facts are fascinating. Read ‘em and weep:

“For many corporations, and even for physicians, Americans’ obesity has also fattened the bottom line. William L. Weis, a management professor at Seattle University, says revenue from the ‘obesity industries’ will likely top $315 billion this year, and perhaps far more. That includes $133.7 billion for fast-food restaurants, $124.7 billion for medical treatments related to obesity, and $1.8 billion just for diet books — all told, nearly 3 percent of the overall U.S. economy.

Did you know…that we guzzled $37 billion in carbonated beverages in 2004? The same year, we spent $3.9 billion on cookies — $244 million of which were Oreo cookies sold by Kraft Foods for about $3.69 a package. In 2003, we splurged $57.2 billion on meals at restaurants such as Denny’s, Chili’s and Outback Steakhouse. Potato chip sales hit $6.2 billion in 2004.”

Yes, it’s true. We Americans are up against a lot of powerful influences that make it hard to control weight. And honestly, sometimes it seems even our public health officials put us on the wrong track–not every culture says you need 3 meals a day. Deepak Chopra wrote a book saying you really only need one.

Either way, it’s a fact that obesity is fattening the economy. The question is, how many other good things could we be doing with that money?

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