Obesity Epidemic Spurs Demand for Oversized Caskets | 01/04/11

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The fatter Americans get, the more businesses stretch to accommodate them; even funeral homes, and casket and mortuary lift retailers.

About one-third of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. About 17 percent of children and teens are obese, triple the rate from a generation ago.

As one generation grows older, another one begins to die off. And with that death comes casket and funeral needs.

Keith Davis, owner of Goliath Caskets, a Lynn, Ind.-based company that "serves the oversize casket needs of bigger people," said his business has grown considerable in the past two decades.

"We're, unfortunately, a necessary frustration," Davis said. "A lot of times, a person's obese loved one has passed away, and they're not sure where to turn for help."


Caskets: 29 to 52 Inches Wide

Goliath Caskets creates and sells caskets starting at 29 inches wide; they can run up to 52 inches wide and 8 feet long.

Even the standard casket size has grown from 24 inches to about 27 inches. Davis said the typical size changed about 15 years ago as people became increasingly overweight and obese.

"When we first started in 1990, 36 inches was the widest casket out there," Davis said. "Now we're up to 52 inches wide, which can hold someone who weighs 800 to 1,000 pounds."

Davis said he hadn't expected to sell more than one 52-inch casket when he made it in the mid-1990s.

"We sold 11 that first year, and we fluctuate from six to 12 of the biggest ones each year," he continued.

Davis now sells about three to four various oversized caskets per week.

Read the whole story here.


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