In Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman insists obesity is the number one health problem in the United States, costing society more than $100 billion per year.1 Plus, Americans spend $33 billion annually trying to lose weight. Deborah Hastings of the Associated Press reports that there's big money to be made in fat:
From the cradle to the grave and most points between, obesity has found its niche in American marketing. Make that a wide berth. Baby seats, doorways and caskets are but a few examples from a long list of life's accoutrements that are getting much bigger to accommodate much bigger people. There are also vacation resorts for those embarrassed to be seen in a bathing suit.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. Don't forget the untold millions that are made selling unhealthy food and drinks to people to make them fat, and the billions and billions people make treating their disease once they are overweight.
Healthcare, big food conglomerates, grocery stores, restaurants... we'd probably have a slimmer population if more effort were put into changing people's bad habits. Oh wait, there's not nearly as much money in fruits and vegetables!
1. Bender, R.,C. Trautnet, M. Spraul, and M. Berger. 1998. Assessment of excess mortality in obesity. Am. J. Epidemiol. 147(1):42-48; Wolf, A.M., and G.A. Colditz. 1998. Current estimates of the economic cost of obesity in the United States. Obes. Res. 6(2):97-106.