New York City, for instance, banned the use of trans fats in cooking oil in 24,000 food establishments. Obese workers are more likely to be absent or sick, and when at work may not be as productive as their colleagues.
Also, there is money to be made from selling healthy food and drink to satisfy growing demand. A successful new restaurant chain called Seasons 52 in the US provides fresh and healthy meals (no dish exceeds 475 calories).
Some companies have recognised the need to take action - for example, Japan's Konami Corp has marketed the Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) video game, which encourages children to exercise more.
Should business care about obesity?
Kathleen Seiders and Leonard L Berry
MIT Sloan Management Review Winter 2007, Vol 48 No 2