Are Big Americans a Big Business Opportunity?

The U.S. obesity rate has skyrocketed in the last decade and companies see an opportunity in marketing to obese people. But they shouldn't take it.

In 1996, no state had an obesity rate of more than 20 percent. Now, nearly all the states break that threshold, and many states in the south have an obesity rate higher than 30 percent. In fact, a full 63 percent of Americans are overweight (one category below obese, still not good).

This chart comes from an article in Ad Age about how there are marketing opportunities for products geared toward overweight people. I'm sure there are. All we can do as a society is pray that companies forgo the piles of money they could surely make by expanding into this new market.

Instead of sliding into a gross complacency about our expanding waist lines, we should do something about it and reward people who keep our health-case costs lower by staying at a healthy weight. Perhaps we should be offering rewards to people who eat healthy and exercise, through lower premiums or some other, more creative option? Creating a host of obese-targeted products will only provide a disincentive living at a healthy weight.