- Rapidly expanding repertoire goes beyond standard beds and wheelchairs into scooters, ADLs, walkers, crutches, canes, bath safety, transfer benches, patient lifts, orthopedic garments, shoes and hosiery. Some manufacturers carry 300 items classified as bariatric.
- There are 6 million to 8 million Americans identified as morbidly obese--100 pounds over their ideal weight. The prime age group is 40 to 55, which falls into the baby boomer population.
- Because obesity is a root cause of diabetes, decubitus ulcers and sleep apnea, consider cross-market sales opportunities. A CPAP patient may need a new bariatric bed, for instance. Place blood glucose monitors and strips near the bariatric section.
- The perception is that bariatric products are more suited for morbidly obese people over 500 pounds when, in reality, the bulk of the clientele is around 300 pounds.
- Since most people aren't familiar with the term bariatric, consider an alternative word to describe the section, such as "Plus" or "X" sizes. Stay away from labels that could be interpreted as offensive.
- Invacare's Web site, www.bariatrics.com, gives a comprehensive description of the bariatric marketplace. Plymouth Meeting, Pa.-based research firm ECRI has published several studies related to obesity (www.ecri.org).