Whether you want to or not, you know Oprah Winfrey…

The $3 billion woman has become one of the most influential celebrities in the world.

What she touches turns to gold.

Books, magazines, movies, fashion, products… you name it.  A simple mention by Oprah is rewarded in riches.  We know Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Deepak Chopra, and Suze Orman because of Oprah.

In 2011, of the 70 books she spoke of 59 went to No. 1 on bestseller lists.

Now her Midas touch has a focus on Wall Street.

When she announced today a 10% ownership stake in Weight Watchers (WTW), it wasn’t a surprise to see the stock more than double hours after.

Down 75% over the last year with increased competition, falling profits and sales, this was the news WTW desperately needed.

But will the boom last?

Analysts may upgrade the stock, as Vetr Inc. just did, but be cautious.  The boom could fizzle just as quickly as it sizzled.

There is one certainty with all of this, though.

Weight loss is big business.

Global obesity has just about doubled in 34 years, growing into one of the worst health epidemics we’ve seen.  More than a third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That means 349 people out of every 1,000 is overweight or obese.

If the current trend continues, 43% of U.S. adults could be obese, according to the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention, adding $344 billion in costs to the health care system.

WTW

Along the way, the global weight loss and obesity management market ballooned to $265 billion in 2012.  It’s expected to fatten itself to $361 billion by the time 2017 rolls around.

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