There is no polite way to say this: Americans are fat, and they’re getting fatter. More than 60 million Americans are obese, up from 23 million in 1980. Another 28 million are expected to join their ranks by 2013.
Heretofore, the main business response to this overwhelming demographic trend has been the $49 billion weight-loss industry. But now a much broader segment of corporate America has begun to see the nation’s fattening for what it is: a potentially powerful driver of consumer demand across a wide swath of the economy.
Just as baby boomers have driven business and shaped the economy during the past half century, the “plus-size” population is likely to dictate marketing trends through much of the 21st.
Already, greater girth is forcing American business to rethink — albeit carefully — the way it designs and sells everything from sofas and toilets to clothes.
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