German-Canadian Business AssociationThursday, September 11, 2008
Earlier this week, I gave a dinner presentation to the The German-Canadian Business and Professional Association of Alberta.
The title of my talk was “Obesity: Costs and Opportunities”.
Obviously, giving a talk on obesiy to a room full of entrepreneurs and business people is quite different from the usual talk that I would give to health care professionals, policy makers or the lay public interested in obesity.
There is no question that obesity affects businesses, no matter what business you are in. As blogged previously, the Conference Board recently estimated the annual cost of obesity to US employers at around $45 Billion per year, substantially more than either smoking or problem drinking.
On the other hand, there is of course a huge global market for obesity solutions that actually work (and even for those that don’t). As readers of this blog are well aware, there is a billion-dollar industry out there peddling weight-loss solutions that are not only worthless but in many cases even harmful to people desperate to do anything to lose weight. Imagine the market and money to be made if you actually had a product or program that delivered on its promises.
There is money to be made in diagnostics, therapeutics, counseling, services, equipment, medical devices and even furniture and clothing. Tapping into the ingenuity and expertise present in Alberta’s academic institutions to develop and bring to market solutions for obesity that actually work will not only benefit Albertans but hopefully, anyone battling this unfortunate condition.