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Everyone knows what stress, advertising, fast food, Canadian winters and a crazy pace of life add up to: increasing numbers of overweight Canadians. We northerners used to laugh smugly at Americans over their collective size, but we don’t have much to laugh about anymore. The newest numbers released from the Association for Canadian Studies in April reveal almost 50 percent of Canadian adults are overweight and almost 15 percent are obese. The numbers for children are even worse. Other studies point out that eight out of ten Canadians are at risk of developing heart disease—obesity, eating habits and lack of exercise being some of the major contributing factors.

What are the effects of this trend on the world of work? For one, increasing numbers of overweight people in the workplace have the potential to create tension, division and even discrimination among those who are bigger and those who are not. Secondly, the trend has also created a great deal of business opportunity in a myriad of fields. Businesses are deliberately taking advantage of the obesity trend and are profiting from a problem that, if it is ever solved, will ironically see profits melt away along with the fat.

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