WHAT A WAIST: Arizona operator blogs about how America’s growing OBESITY lifestyle affects vehicle passenger capacities. And what does such largesse do to the shocks and suspension?
By Rachel Ricks, In The Scene Limousine
TEMPE, Ariz. — It is no secret: we are getting bigger as a population. [About] 65% of all Americans are now considered overweight or obese. Processed food, gluten, hormone-filled dairy products, fast food — there are lots of causes.
Looking at different sectors of the food and entertainment business some of us are winners and some of us are losers in the increasing size of Americans. The restaurant business loves the increasing size of us Americans. We eat out more and we eat a lot, so we order more: appetizers, entrées, desserts. The restaurant business is probably cashing in on the fattening of Americans.
Bars are probably cashing in too. It takes more alcohol to feel the effects of these larger patrons, so people are probably ordering more drinks and shots to get that same buzz. A 250-pound person would take more drinks than a 110-pound person to get that same buzz.
Our industry, the limo business, probably is being impacted negatively. With our limos and party buses, we say a size of passenger capacity. But that would be based upon a "normal" size person. Limo and party bus builders factor about 16 inches wide for a "normal" person. That is realistic for somebody with a normal body mass index. I'm about 12 inches wide; when I sit I spread to about 13 inches. And my BMI is 21.6 which is in the normal range of 18.5-24.9. So at 13 inches wide, I would be sitting right next (thigh to thigh) to my fellow passenger in the AZ limo or party bus.
As our passengers get larger we have to say that the capacity is smaller. What is "normal" is overweight now. Sad, but true. This is probably the reason for the increase and demand for party buses; they are easier for people to get into and out of since you can stand up. And they are larger.
I haven't even touched on the shocks and suspension of the vehicles. When you load 10 passengers into a 10-pax limo and each person weighs 120 on average, then the total weight is 1,200 pounds. What happens when we load nine people that weigh 250 pounds apiece on average? The total weight would be over 2,000 pounds. How does that impact the lifetime wear on the limos?
Many of our passengers are younger — a lot of the events that are being celebrated are for "younger" events — proms, weddings, 21st birthdays, so many of these people haven't let a sedentary lifestyle and [made] bad food choices [that] add on the extra pounds. But American kids are getting bigger and bigger.
Watch Walle (yes the kid's cartoon movie) to me is the direction we are headed in; fat Americans hauled around on floating devices because we can't even walk and so connected into devices (cell phones and Facebook) that we can't even have a conversation face to face. We stuff our faces, don't exercise, and text everything now in 2010. Where is the future headed?
What do you think? Do you think there are other segments of the food and entertainment industry that are being positively or negatively impacted by the increase of overweight and obesity in Americans?
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Source: Rachel Ricks, IN THE SCENE LIMOUSINE