Reno, NV (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - You've heard the headlines, like, “Too Fat to Fly,” where airlines will force customers to purchase a second seat if they don't fit. If you don't plan in advance, it could cost you. The same idea applies to something many of us rarely think about: funerals.
We never know when our last day on earth will be. Death could come knocking today, or it could be a long time coming. For many of us, planning funerals isn't a priority, but it's a costly expense, and like many things in life, one size does not fit all in the after-life.
Rick Noel has been a funeral director for nearly 30 years and says the American obesity epidemic has brought change to the industry.
Since 1990, American obesity rates have only gone up. About 27% of Americans are considered obese, with a body-mass-index of 30 or higher, according to Americas Health Rankings.
Nevada ranks 17th in the United States for obesity. In 2013, 26.2% of the adult population were considered obese, up from 24.5% in 2012.
"As America has gotten a little bit bigger, more options are now available,” says Noel.
The big difference is casket size. Noel says a standard size casket could accommodate a person up to 275 pounds-- any heavier would require an over-sized casket.
The standard-sized casket measures 28 inches, the over-sized casket: 33.
Those extra five inches on the casket means buying a larger outer burial container as well. It all adds up and could be too wide for a single burial plot.
"They'll be forced to buy a second grave as well,” says Noel.
Burial expenses for the extremely obese are more expensive. The casket alone is upwards to a thousand dollars more. If a second plot is required, Noel says that, “could translate there into another between a thousand and four thousand."
Over-sized caskets have been available for a long time with only one or two options, but Noel says as Americans get bigger, there are several different styles for the larger caskets.
Though obesity rates are on the upswing, standard caskets will fit a majority of people. Noel says Walton's Funeral in the Reno and Sparks area uses the over-sized caskets only a few times a year.