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Supersizing of Americans Creating Demand for Big Caskets

CBSNews -- As Americans get heavier, the impact is spilling over into the funeral industry, with families needing to spend thousands more on extra-large caskets.

As Americans get heavier, the impact is spilling over into the funeral industry, with families needing to spend thousands more on extra-large caskets. 

The larger-sized caskets can cost as much as $5,000, compared with $2,000 to $3,000 for a standard 26-inch-wide casket, reports Al Jazeera America. One casket maker, Goliath Caskets, has found itself so busy with demand for extra-large final resting places that its 64-year-old owner, Keith Davis, said he can’t retire anytime soon. 

Casket makers are “making more room on the inside," Bob Arrington, treasurer of the National Funeral Directors Association, told the media outlet. "The casket manufacturers are realizing that this is an issue, and they're starting to make changes."

The bigger caskets sometimes won’t fit in hearses, requiring families to rent flatbed trucks to transport their loved ones, the piece adds. 

The problem isn’t limited to the U.S. One British crematorium recently said itinstalled a new $20,000 elevator to handle wider coffins for obese people. 

Dying in America isn’t cheap. The average cost of a funeral was $7,045 in 2012, including $2,400 for a metal casket, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. That’s increased 7.8 percent from 2009, when the average cost was $6,560. 

Americans may just continue to get fatter, if recent dieting statistics are any indication. Only19 percent of American adults are currently dieting, a new all-time low since marketing researcher The NPD Group starting tracking dieting habits three decades ago. 

But it’s not as if Americans can’t stand to shed a few pounds. The number of people who say they want to lose 20 pounds has remained steady, NPD found. 

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