Emerging Industry Overview: Weight Loss Products & Services

Industry Snapshot

During the early 2000s, a very sizable market existed for weight loss products and services and showed no signs of faltering. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of obesity in the United States increased significantly between 1987 and 2007 (the last statistic available), and 49 states (all except Colorado) had an obesity prevalence rate of over 20 percent. Further CDC data showed that one-third of the U.S. population (more than 72 million adults) were considered clinically obese. Statistics supported a conclusion that the United States had become a society in which people ate larger portions more often and led more sedentary lifestyles. In addition, people consumed food that was convenient but of poor nutritional quality. As Yale University psychology professor Kelly D. Brownell explained in the Toronto Star, "Food is available everywhere all the time, like never before in history. Gas stations, drug stores, schools. Unhealthy food is cheap, convenient and tastes good, while just the opposite is true of healthy foods." The United States was not alone. By 2010, more than one billion people around the world were above an ideal weight.