Since the dawn of Fast Food, TV Dinners, and Big Gulps, America has significantly gotten fatter... and people have noticed. Over the last 20 years, there has been a drastic upshot in obesity numbers - with no sign of things slowing down - and it is not just affecting our health, but our lifestyle too.
In 2012, more than 1 out of every 3 adults 1 out of 5 children are considered obese, according to the CDC. This amounts to 90 million people being dubbed "officially obese", while even more are just overweight and even more are unfit couch potatoes.
There have been significant attempts to combat the invasion of love handles and belly rolls. But, none of these efforts have stopped the obesity epidemic. And not surprisingly either... I mean, you can't tell me First Lady Michelle Obama' potato sack races with Jimmy Fallon or the rest of her fitness campaign has inspired you or anyone you know to go to the gym.
But there is hope. Entrepreneurship, by nature, is drawn to innovating essentially anything that affects a large number of people. And as the numbers show, obesity - and the attempt to get rid of it - certainly affects a large number of people in this country.
The brains in this country have been smart enough to realize that you cannot cure laziness, which is one of the major factors to this national problem. Innovators have taken this into account, recognizing that if people can get fit without changing their lifestyle or going to the gym, most of them will try to.
Out of this trend, we have Wii Sports and Wii Fit, which although are very minor activities, it is nonetheless a start. Companies have been manufacturing on a large scale wearable devices that track and monitor personal fitness levels. Currently, the electronic sports and fitness sector is a $70 billion annual business.
Now, entrepreneurs have capitalized on this and are taking digital fitness products to the next level... and if done right, will most definitely have a stronger impact on combating obesity than all other attempts before it.
This trend is called "Quantified Self", which is centered around the hope that awareness - of what one eats and how much activity is performed daily - will lead to small changes that will amount to notable change in individuals' fitness.
With the growth of the smartphone market, the "Quantified Self" trend has become popular among everyone - in all demographics - as people can use these products anywhere and everywhere they go. That is the first accomplishment, because without the smartphone aspect, this would be trend popular only among meatheads and fitness junkies.
The market potential in this trend is remarkable. In 2011, there were 16.2 million wearable fitness devices. It is predicted that in 2017, this number will grow to 93 million. Also, the revenue of fitness apps downloaded in 2010 amounted to $123 million, and is predicted to reach $341 million in 2016.
Weight Watchers, surprisingly, as embraced an entrepreneurial sprit and focused its brand on capitalizing on this trend (like any successful innovator. They now have a $1.8 billion annual revenue.
Another innovator is Fitbit, a startup founded by serial entrepreneurs James Park and Eric Friedman in 2009. Fitbit has perfected the wearable micro-device, which has proven results. Users, regardless of fitness level, increased there steps taken and other activity levels by 43%.
Fitbit's secret sauce is there interactive web-based dashboard that works with the wearable micro-device, which is addictive (in the same way Facebook and Twitter are addicting). In other words, by making fitness addicting, Fitbit is one of the most effective fitness products brought to market.
For any other ambitious entrepreneurs out there, this is a major opportunity right now. The obesity epidemic provides the demand, and coupled with the "Quantified Self" trend, this demand is exponentially increased. The supply, however, is limited. FitBit, WeightWatchers, Nike, and other brands are reaping the rewards of a competition-light market.
Venture Capitalists have also acknowledged this market potential and have been hunting for entrepreneurs with the desire to build the right product to enter this field. If you want to establish yourself as an entrepreneur, innovating the fitness sector is something to consider.