Obesity – No Longer A Niche Market


An increasing number of entrepreneurs have discovered there's big money to be made by catering to Americans' bulging waistlines — without seeking to trim them down.

It's big business.

Freedom Paradise, a 112-room resort south of Cancun, Mexico, bills itself as the world's first resort designed for obese people. Its amenities include large armless chairs, wide steps with railings in swimming pools, walk-in showers instead of bathtubs, stronger hammocks, and a staff steeped in sensitivity training.

Nearly one third of American adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2000, more than 300 million adults in the world were obese and one billion were overweight, according to the World Health Organization.

"We are no longer a niche market. Overweight people are the majority in this country," said 324-lb Mindy Sommers, referring to the 64 percent of Americans who are overweight. "Businesses that don't cater to us are stupid. There are a lot of us, and we have a lot of money to spend."

I think the future of a business that caters to obese people is difficult to determine because ultimately, most people do not want to be obese. Sure this is a growing demographic, but I think it could vanish rapidly if a highly successful weight loss pill comes to market.