Scotland is dealing with an obesity problem in life and death. An increasing number of coffins are too big to fit in furnaces for those who choose to be cremated, meaning that families are being forced to bury their loved ones against their final wishes.
The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) in Scotland have released a statement detailing their ongoing support to families of their larger-sized clients. Larger "American-style caskets" - some measuring almost a metre wide - are causing adjustments to be made across all aspects of funerals in Scotland. With bigger hearses, stronger hoists, bigger plots all becoming increasingly necessary.
Along with investment in equipment such as "rise and fall decks in funeral vehicles, bariatric stretchers, larger-size mortuary refrigerators, appropriate training for staff and dedicated lifting equipment", the NAFD reports "considerable investment by local authorities in Scotland in larger cremators" to cope with the size of the caskets.
At present grieving families are faced with the prospect of traveling miles away to the nearest crematorium with larger-size facilities. Putting them under added strain and expense at an already harrowing time. Alternatively "standard grave sizes generally accommodate most larger-size coffins, with the occasional exception" leaving mourners little option but to opt for burial.
According to the BBC, by 2013 almost two thirds of Scottish adults were overweight, with 27.1% classed as being obese. The issue could be costing Scotland up to £4.6bn a year, according to a government report.