Bookmark and Share

Obesity — the entrepreneur’s dream

Last week I wrote of the super-sized population, the stigma against super-sized bodies, and the physical, psychological and emotional risks associated with it.

However, every problem, the adage goes, offers a promising business opportunity. If that is true, then the nation’s current obesity crisis represents a virtual gold mine of entrepreneurial possibilities — ranging from the inviting, to the pragmatic, to the disturbing to the gruesome. Consider them.

Freedom Paradise, in Tankah, Mexico, may be the world’s first size-sensitive resort. Among its unique features: four-foot-wide chaise lounges; benches without constricting armrests; reinforced 26-inch-wide dining room chairs; reinforced king-size beds; railings in all wet areas; and secluded Caribbean beaches.

I recently received sales material for “bariatric guest seating.” Its newest product is a 36-inch-wide, heavy-duty panel side constructed armchair with a 750-pound capacity. One of these bariatric armchairs could most likely serve dual function — as a love seat for the not-so-large population. Hmmm. Tempting.

Joan Borgos, who once weighed 350 pounds, was frustrated by the lack of size-appropriate products and services, and so founded largedirectory.com. The comprehensive Web site resource encompasses catalogs, lingerie, bridal shops, counseling services, plus-size dating services, seat-belt extenders, etc. Borgos, who now weighs 150 pounds, thanks to gastric bypass surgery, has added listings geared toward teens.

Responding to a Johns Hopkins University study which found that more than 250,000 U.S. children under the age of 6 are far too big for standard car seats, two companies have produced magnified models. Britax makes a seat called the “Husky” that is 10 pounds heavier and four inches wider than standard seats; and Britax and the Dorel Juvenile Group have both introduced harness seats with 65-pound weight limits.

In Las Vegas, American Medical Response has put an extra-large ambulance on the street. Though it looks like a standard vehicle, it is actually wider, and has a gurney, winch, and ramps that can accommodate weights of up to 1,600 pounds. Never know when a drunk horse may have to be hoisted out of the “singing fountain” of Bellagio.

Many hospitals that deal with obese patients have been forced to invest in wider beds, wheelchairs, and doorways; longer needles; and bigger CT scan machines.

And, yes, coffins are also now available in extra-large sizes.

Super-sized dilemmas yield super-sized solutions.

And for the entrepreneur who builds a bigger mouse trap, the world will beat a path to your door.