Fighting the Fat Pads | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 02.06.2002
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Fighting the Fat Pads

Whether or not due to the beginning beach season - Germans are spending an incresing amount in diet products and exercise.


One third of Europeans are said to be overweight

Many a Europeans’ worst encounter in past weeks may have been with the household scales – a step onto this doomed apparatus, and the summer holdiday’s anticipation is easily spoilt. Memories of sumptuous Christmas dinners and wintry afternoons with coffee and cakes only make things worse. The result is often an odyssee in the world of weight loss products, diet shakes and exercise gyms.

According to a recent study, guilt-ridden Europeans hoping to squeeze themselves into last year’s swimsuits will spend up to 96 billion euros ($ 90.1 billion) annually on dieting products by 2006.

The report showed that obesity is becoming a burgeoning problem across Europe, but is particulary severe in Germany, Italy and Spain, where over half of the population is medically overweight.

"One third of western European consumers are now overweight, and by 2006 this will increase by almost half", analyst Andrew Russell of Datamonitor, who conducted the survey, said.

A growing market

While obesity is increasing in Europe, so too is the "shape management" market, including low-calorie meals, miracle weight-loss drinks (photo) and cholesterol-reducing margerines.

Slim Fast

"Consumer awareness of the importance of exercise and good diet has increased in recent years. This is due to heightened marketing of professional gyms, diet programmes and exercise techniques," Russell said.

However, despite a heightened interest in weight loss methods, this does not neccessarily mean a long-term lifestyle change. Therefore, miracle diet foods and quick weight loss methods are proving the winners in the race for the holy weight loss grail.

Germany largest slimming market

Germany, with its supposed penchant for beer and sausages is where the slimming market is the largest, the report says. Last year, the Germans bought 19.3 million worth of diet products, compared to Britain with 15.2 billion euros, and 13.2 billion euros in France.

However, it is the people of "normal" weight, who are thought to be spending the most on dieting products and on exercising in gyms.

"The attitude of most overweight consumers is that a good body, however much they might desire it, is not worth the effort it would take to achieve in terms of serious lifestyle changes such as more hard exercise and fewer indulgences," Datamonitor said.

In addition, the survey disclosed a further aspect: For the alchoholic drinks industry Datamonitor estimates that weight conscious abstention from alchoholic drinks may cost the drinks insutry five billion euros by 2006.

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