Companies expand products to accommodate growing waistlines

By Heartland News

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Missouri has been ranked the 12th most obese state in the United States and because of that equipment has had to change to accommodate those with wider waistlines.

Trust for America's Health data says that 29.3 percent of adults in Missouri are obese.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adults.

A person with a BMI of 30 is the baseline for being considered obese and a BMI between 25 and 29.9 indicates an individual is overweight.

"This is my sixth year in this and we have noticed probably within the last two years there has been a definite increase in the need for what we call bariatric equipment," said Cape Girardeau Provider Plus, Inc. account manager Shelly Turlington.

She said bariatric equipment is made for the patients who weigh more than your typical piece of equipment can hold.

"In the community with the nursing homes and the hospitals it seems that they're really struggling to keep up with this demand because it has become so intense here within the last year and a half," said Turlington.

"For us to have this much bariatric on hand then there is a need for it," said Turlington. "The numbers have picked up over the last year in that area, so I know it's increasing."

The Cape County Private Ambulance Service, Inc. got a bariatric ambulance stretcher about a year ago. The bariatric stretcher is 12 inches wider than a standard one.

The standard carries up to 800 lbs. and the bariatric carries up to 1600 lbs. but they said it is often unsafe to transport a person over 350 lbs. on a standard stretcher.

They have three people in the county that are over 500 lbs. that they have transported and will continue to transport.

Walter Ford, owner of Ford and Sons Funeral Home, has also seen an increase in the amount of oversized caskets in his 54 years in the business.

"We will typically use anywhere from three to five oversized caskets a month," said Ford.

He said 15 years ago they would occasionally have a need for one but now it's more so than before.

"It used to be more expensive when it was a special order, but casket manufacturers have now come to terms with the fact that they are going to have to have a wider casket and they are just incorporating them into their regular line," said Ford.

"It's just a fact of life and you do what you got to do to accommodate the public," said Ford.

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