As the world has become wealthier and more efficient, the cost of food has dropped. We exercise about as much as beached whales and we have seen the inevitable result: An explosion of “big boned” Eric Cartmans as far as the eye can see.
Unless we come up with the means of losing weight that requires zero self control (such as a new Stalin or functional diet pill), I anticipate this trend will continue.
As the ranks of the overweight swell (both literally and figuratively), the social stigma of morbid obesity declines. As time progresses, overweight people will attempt to make their lives easier by doing as little exercise as possible. Easing the stresses in one’s life has been a goal of invention and business for millennia and has been a sign of progress in the modern era.
Often the most stressful exercise overweight people experience in a typical day is walking up stairs in their own home. I predict that, as more and more people become overweight, newly designed houses will do away with stairs, either substituting an elevator (you’d still need emergency stairs which take up space), or, as I now foresee the future, multistory homes become a thing of the past.
Except for the wealthy, who can afford the cost of both floor space for stairs and an the expense of an elevator, homes will lose their upper floors.
If the seller of a home wants the new, morbidly obese, borderline shut-in to buy his home, a big selling point would be the ranch style. Why should the mobile 400 pound man have to strain his overworked heart going up stairs? He could just walk or ride his scooter straight from his bedroom to the bathroom, the home office, or out the door to his car. When building a new home, for both future resale and one’s own convenience, why not build wider instead of higher?
I predict entire new developments without a step to climb.
Side note, with a tiny, super easy prediction:
In our age of politically correct speech, I am surprised the overweight masses in the United States accept the medical term “morbid obesity.” “Morbid” and “obese,” while descriptive and specific, may easily be found offensive by people who fit into that category. Consider, in the past, “moron” referred to an IQ of 51-70, “imbecile” to 26-50 and “idiot” up to 25. Mental retardation had a specific definition before school yard kids started slinging it at each other. These are all now considered offensive, politically incorrect, and have been entirely removed from our speech as inappropriate.
It is a very small step to see how “morbid” in morbid obesity will have to be removed and some other, easier to swallow term will be substituted. Perhaps something along the lines of “formidably built.” It is only a short time before the term changes. I give it less than ten years at most, maybe only 2 or 3.