Supersized Nation Leading to Oversized Caskets

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Only one third of Americans maintain a healthy weight. Another third is overweight, and the final third is obese.

The epidemic is now starting to affect the funeral industry. Companies that make caskets are having to change the way they do business to accommodate America's weight problem.

Since the 1880s craftsmen at the Northwest Casket Company have been cutting cloth, sewing it together, then stapling it to hand-crafted frames, all to suit the needs of the customer.

"We'll make them any size they want them, any size they need them," Northwest Casket's Tom Dunleavy said.

For the majority of the last 130 years, their caskets have been a standard 24 inches wide. But now, customers need them bigger. 

"Well, basically the oversize have taken over a lot," Dunleavy said.

Only half of the caskets they make are still the standard size. The other half are, according to Dunleavy, "33 inches, 44 inches, 55 inches, which would hold someone up to a thousand pounds."

"We sell the caskets to meet the needs of the population and as the population gets larger, our caskets get larger," he said.

Of course, the bigger caskets are more expensive, and they sometimes require two burial plots.

"They require a special vault and they're just a lot more expensive to get in to," Dunleavy told CBN News.

The extra expense shows that as in life, death is often more costly for the overweight and obese.

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Lorie  Johnson

Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

Lorie Johnson reports on the latest information about health and wellness. Since medicine is constantly changing, she makes sure CBN News viewers are up-to-date on what they need to know in order to live a healthy life.  Follow Lorie on Twitter @LorieCBN and "like" her at Facebook.com/LorieJohnsonCBN.