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Summer is on the way, and while you huff and puff into shape once again, others will rake in $6.6 billion

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With summer right around the corner, it does not take a rocket scientist to predict that millions of Aussies will switch to weight-loss mode to look their best for the swim season. As you read this, I am probably past my 1000th sit-up trying to turn a beer belly into as many pairs of abs as possible…

Now, according to the business information analysts over at IBISWorld, this is all sweet music to the ears of any entrepreneur out there in the health and weight-loss industry.

Why? Well, the analysts estimate that we will spend a whopping $6.6 billion in 2013-14 in search of perfect bodies. Gym memberships, weight loss books, you name it….

Are we bulging as a nation?

Current ABS data shows that in Australia, 55.7 per cent of women and 70.3 per cent of men are overweight. That’s an increase of 1.6 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively, compared with five years ago. But, what is behind these growing obesity levels in the first place?

IBISWorld General Manager (Australia), Ms Karen Dobie points an accusing finger at longer working hours and busier schedules, which drive consumption of quick takeaway foods, as well as our increasingly sedentary lifestyles; we sit too much and exercise too little.

Dobie goes on to explain that despite growing awareness about the importance of a healthy diet, the average household continues to spend about 8.4 per cent of their income on soft drinks and confectionery. IBISWorld further forecasts that we will spend $11.7 billion on unhealthy fast foods in 2013-2014.

The battle against the bulge rages on…

However, Dobie says health consciousness is on the rise too, with more Aussies opting for organic, natural and preservative-free foods. She also notes that the get healthy trend has extended to our work lives, with many employers promoting and subsidising health and fitness programs for staff.

It is this trend that is allowing health and weight-loss businesses to rake in more bucks and according to IBISWorld, this is just the tip of the iceberg. They predict spending on health and weight loss to continue increasing and reach more than $7 billion by 2018 as more Australians seek help to combat their growing waistlines.

The areas tipped to grow the fastest in the coming years are personal training, gym memberships, weight-loss products and weight-loss counselling services, while sporting goods, home gym and fitness equipment, and athletic clothing and footwear are expected to remain the highest spending areas.

Now, you know where to position yourself as an entrepreneur if you want to cash in on this.

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