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Do products seem like they are getting bigger and bigger? You’re not imagining it.
With an obesity rate of 35% among women and 32% among men, bigger products are big business. Plus-size fashion makes up at least 20% of women’s clothing sales.
Hospitals spend five times more on wider wheelchairs that can hold up to 700-pound patients.
If you think you could use products with roomier accommodations, here are 13 that fit the bill.
More robust recliners
The name La-Z-Boy is synonymous with reclining chairs, and the company’s Roland La-Z-Time chair is now leading the pack of plus-size furniture.
While the average recliner is around 36 inches wide, the Roland boasts an immense 53-inch width. Retailers typically market supersize seaters as "chairs-and-a-half" or "cuddle chairs."
Along with the extra width, they offer more weight support thanks to features like thicker foam and extra springs.
Photo: Horton Automatics
Although revolving and sliding doorways tend to be on the wide side to begin with, they’re getting wider.
Some door makers say they are expanding them by 1 or 2 feet to accommodate larger people.
The Texas-based Horton Automatics regularly fills orders for revolving doors with compartments that are 4 feet wide (up from 3 feet).
Doors with 9-feet-wide compartments are especially popular in Las Vegas casinos.
Bigger bodies need bigger protection from the elements.
With a diameter of 68 inches, this umbrella is 50% wider than the standard size.
Going to the gym can be daunting if you are overweight, and finding out that most personal exercise equipment has a maximum weight capacity of 200 pounds can make it even more so.
The Theracycle 200 is a motorized exercise bicycle that offers a full-body workout for people weighing up to 550 pounds.
Monitoring your weight is even more important if you are obese, but most ordinary bathroom scales max out at about 350 pounds.
Better bed lifts
Hospitals across America are using electric lifts to help move patients between their bed and wheelchair.
Whereas a medical personnel team can usually handle a patient weighing about 250 pounds, these over-the-bed hoists hold up to 1,000 pounds.
In the late 1980s, Liz Claiborne launched one of the first plus-size clothing lines, called Elisabeth.
Since then, a number of designers have followed suit, including Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, and Jennifer Lopez.
However, companies like Ann Taylor are selling sizes 16 and up only online; larger sizes cost an estimated 10% more to make.
Although airlines offer seatbelt extenders for overweight passengers, asking for one can be embarrassing, and airlines have been known to run out on them.
Instead, fliers can buy their own FAA-approved belt extenders, which give them about 27 extra inches across the midsection.
Heftier high heels
It’s not just the size of our bodies that’s expanding—our feet are too.
Foot size has been increasing for the past century along with height and weight, but some doctors think that the recent surge is due to the obesity epidemic.
As we put more weight on our walkers, they are growing longer and wider—hence the growing demand for size 13s and double-wide shoes.
Marketed to anyone who wants a more comfortable potty experience, the Big John Toilet Seat is 3.5 inches wider than the standard design.
Customers say the seat, which can withstand up to 1,200 pounds and fits on any toilet, helps eliminate the fear of breaking the commode when nature calls.
The average woman’s ring size is 6, but bands as large as size 16 are available from jewelers such as Classic Plus Size Jewelry.
This jeweler makes bracelets that are 11 inches in length compared to the medium 7-inch length. Dozens of other plus-size jewelry makers have cropped up online to accessorize larger men and women.
A 2010 survey by Novation, a health-care group purchasing company, found that nearly half the hospitals in the U.S. are admitting more morbidly obese patients now than they did two years ago.
As a result, hospitals need bigger, sturdier beds, walkers, and wheelchairs. ConvaQuip Industries is one company filling the demand with a wheelchair that is 4 inches wider than standard models and holds up to 700 pounds.
Specialty products are helping to accommodate overweight people in death as well as in life. Over the past couple of decades, demand for wider, rectangular (as opposed to the typical, tapered shape) coffins has been rising.
With a width of 52 inches, the Homestead, made by Goliath Casket in Indianapolis, is double the size of standard coffins. Transport and burial of these oversized caskets require a truck, in place of a hearse, and a crane.