Obesity has now become a cause of grave concern

Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

WE all know that carrying too much weight can kill us – but it doesn’t end there. Because fat people are no longer just killing themselves; they’re also putting their nearest and dearest at risk on their death.

Being heavier in life means we’re heavier in death – and the strain of carrying tubby relatives is hurting grieving mourners in more ways than ever before.

The National Association of Funeral Directors, whose members operate 4,000 UK funeral homes, recently revealed that the average coffin width had gone from between 20 and 22 inches to between 22 and 24 in the past decade.

Others undertakers were less diplomatic in their observations, claiming that the obesity crisis means they have to invest in coffins that look like ‘small bungalows’ – coffins that take up to eight pallbearers instead of the traditional six. . . and in extreme cases, require special hoists that can lift 30-stone bodies.

The changing face of funerals came to light after Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority decided to investigate why funeral costs had risen by an average of 68 per cent in the past decade to £4,271.

The answer was that undertakers had to hit all customers in the pocket because they were spending tens of thousands on the specialist equipment.

These included super-sized mortuary fridges – and in some cases compensating staff who were injured carrying huge coffins on their final journey.

Soon the cost of graves will be higher because the width will be bigger – and this is at a time when so many cemeteries are running low on space to begin with.

It is of course an honour to be asked to carry the coffin for someone whom you knew and loved, but it’s also a fair old imposition on your shoulder – especially if your partner on the other side doesn’t properly share the load.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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