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Hospitals prepare for a plus-size future

Houston Chronicle, May 22, 2012

Hospitals and clinics are preparing for a future in which almost half of the population will be obese. "Obesity is just rampant," said Trudy Ivins, bariatric program director at Memorial Hermann-Memorial City, who has helped the hospital incorporate furniture and equipment for heavier patients and their families throughout its facilities. The annual cost for obesity-related illnesses is estimated at $190 billion, but that doesn't count the price tag for plus-size furniture and equipment, which can cost 50 percent more than conventional equipment. Economists say those expenses ultimately will be passed on to everyone in the form of higher medical bills.