ROCKVILLE, Md., March 18 (UPI) -- U.S. retail sales of weight management food, beverages, meal replacements, diet aids and diet programs will reach $41 billion in 2016, experts say.
A report from Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, which publishes market intelligence, said of the total weight management sales, food and beverages represent the largest share of sales at 80 percent.
Almost 70 percent of U.S. adults and almost 32 percent of school-age children and adolescents are either overweight or obese, government statistics show. From 1988-2008, the prevalence of obesity increased by 48 percent among adults and more than 72 percent among children and teenagers.
A growing number of articles, books and even films have charged that in its quest for profits, the food and beverage industry -- particularly the fast-food industry -- was partly to blame for the obesity epidemic because marketers deliberately create and market foods nutritionally unsound and even "addictive," the report said.
Experian Marketing Services said almost 39 percent of all U.S. adults, representing 87.8 million consumers, currently watch their diet to either lose or maintain their weight.
As the battle of the bulge continues, the arsenal consumers use is changing. Commercial weight management programs such as Curves, eDiets, Jenny Craig, Healthy Wage, Medifast, Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers are expected to re-gain steam by 2015 as marketers offer targeted new programs, the report said.