When I read the headline saying Australia has become the fattest nation in the world, I was puzzled. I always had the impression that US had the most super-sized people. I later realized that the report, which was prepared by Melbourne’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, made the conclusion based on the percentage of the population. The latest figure shows that 4 million Australians or 26% of the adult population are obese whereas US has about 25%. A further 5 million Australians are considered overweight.
The report with the title of “Australia’s Future Fat Bomb” is using body mass index (BMI) to classify one whether overweight or obese. A BMI of over 25 is considered overweight while more than 30 is obese. BMI is actually not an ideal tool to measure obesity because it does not distinguish muscle and fat. For example, BMI may indicate a rugby player or bodybuilder as obese. However, even with potential discrepancy of BMI and by taking out few of the figure out, Australia still has many adults are battling obesity.
The report has several interesting points worth mentioned:
- It mentioned that if Australia participate in the fat Olympics, they will be gold medal winner as the fattest people on earth or being the “heavy weight” champion.
- It encourages people to do something about their weight. People are having children at older age and therefore it is important to live long enough to spend more quality with with their children when they are old.
- By getting overweight Australians to lose 5 kilograms in 5 months could reduce heart related hospital admissions by 27% and reduce deaths by 34% over the next 20 years. Indirectly, much medical cost can be saved.
- The report proposes to get towns in the country to compete for the “healthy” status. Towns that lose the most weight will be rewarded with cash to build sports centers and swimming pools. I thought towns lose the least weight should be helped with all those sports facilities, rite?
- It also suggests government to subsidize gym memberships and personal training sessions for fat people. Other measures such as better nutritional labeling, more funding for weight loss surgery and crack down on junk food marketing to kids are also recommended.
While Americans may feel relieved knowing they are not the fattest country in the world, but the 1% statistical difference is nothing to be comfortable at. Therefore, be it American or Australian or other people in other nations, especially developed countries, something need to be done. While being fat is not necessarily a health risk for everyone, but the chances of getting health complications like diabetes or heart attack are high. What I worry is the next generation too. The children may be influenced with unhealthy lifestyle shown by obese parents when comes to diet control and exercise.
Category: Fitness News
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