Expanding business: Obesity forcing larger versions of common items

January 13, 2008
by Loretta Grantham
Palm Beach Post

Living XL, which debuted last year, is part of an emerging retail and manufacturing trend to accommodate - and profit from - America's widening waistband. Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health told The Washington Post that "it's a balancing act between assisting people coping with the results of being obese and not losing track of the message about being more active and eating healthier diets. "But if we stigmatize obesity, it makes the public health challenge that much more difficult." Apparel for overweight consumers joined the mainstream years ago, with adults and children spending $76 billion on plus-sized clothes in 2006, according to Packaged Facts, a market research firm in Rockville, Md. That figure, by the way, is expected to hit $107 billion in the next five years, and retailers have quit hiding "special sizes" in dark corners of the store.

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