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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's all fat(e) - Chef asked to move out of New Zealand because of obesity

What happens when one is too fat – people would not be happy sharing a seat with him in a bus ! may not sit nearer in a park  / cinema theatre / cricket ground….. but would any Nation send away a person just because he is too fat / obese ???

a good fat hen

When you go to a school, you find children varying in many aspects – some are tall, some are not; some are slightly built and puny; most wear neat dress – some do not; some wear spectacles and…………. so on…. There is fear that  Indian children are becoming more obese – some say due to junk food; some attribute it to Indian habit of eating samosas and other deep fried foods.  The Nation is earning the dubious distinction of having more diabetics than any other part of the World. Our ancestors lived naturally – longer and healthier at that.  As one could recall, three or four generations earlier, people were used to hard physical labour, would eat natural things, had clean habits, lived happily with lesser worries and lesser medication.

The present generation though living in an age, where everything is available, modern methods of medicine, high potent drugs, quality food, good infrastructure of health care, science and technology, research in medicine and treatment methods – still, you hear and see people falling ill far too often, hospitals are crowded with patients, more incidence of chronic diseases, increased incidence of  disorders like diabetes, blood pressure, even youngsters suffering heart-attacks and more of sob stories……….

In cities, you find too many obese children – more than what you could call them as fat ! -  Obesity means having too much body fat. It is not the same as being overweight, which means weighing too much. A person may be overweight from extra muscle, bone, or water, as well as from having too much fat.  Taking in more calories than you burn can lead to obesity because the body stores unused calories as fat. Obesity can be caused by:- eating more food, drinking too much of alcohol, not doing enough exercise.  In many weight lose programmes, people eventually end up gaining some more than reducing.  Biology is one big reason for obesity and eating habits, not doing exercise, the type of things that we eat, having sedentary life style all can lead to obesity.   Some medical problems or treatments can also cause weight gain. 

I had earlier posted something on ‘Samoa’ ~ officially the Independent State of Samoa, a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. ‘Samoan Airlines’ earned the dubious distinction of becoming the  world's first airline to charge passengers by their weight - rather than under a normal fare structure ~ the Airlines claims that  the policy is helping to raise obesity awareness and improve public health.  It is not without criticism as the Samoan airline's policy is being attacked by  obesity expert and community leaders as insensitive and lame.  Under the new plan, passengers pay a price per kilogram they weigh, and the price varies according to the length of the route.  The airline says the fare system is helping people understand the issue of obesity.

Somewhat nearer in the South western Pacific Ocean is the country consisting of two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands – the New Zealand.  Daily Mail reports that New Zealand has kicked obese chef out of the country because at 20 stone six pounds he is too heavy; reportedly Albert Buitenhuis was told he was too heavy to stay in new Zealand….. weighing 20 stone six pounds, five stone less than when he moved there, he and wife Marthie are facing deportation from their Christchurch home.  Albert is five feet ten inches tall and has a Body Mass Index of 40

The report mentions that an obese chef has been told he is too fat to live in New Zealand, even though he has lost 66lb since moving there six years ago. Albert Buitenhuis, who weighs 130kg, was told that it may place demands on the New Zealand health services.  New Zealand is the third most obese nation in the developed world, coming behind the US and Mexico.

But, he weighed 25 stone two pounds when he arrived in New Zealand as he had quit smoking. His wife Marthie said that his weight had not stopped Albert from working 40 hours a week as a chef. She added that their annual visas have been approved every year since 2007 with little problem. Marthie told The Press: ‘We applied for [them] year after year and there were no issues. They never mentioned Albert's weight or his health once and he was a lot heavier then. ‘We've committed no crime and did nothing wrong other than my husband being a foodie.’ He and his wife Marthie are now facing deportation from their Christchurch, stating that  Albert’s health was no longer acceptable. Immigration New Zealand said that an applicant’s BMI must be under 35. A spokesman said: ‘INZ's medical assessors have to consider to what extent there might be indications of future high-cost and high-need demand for health services.’ They claim that his weight increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and fatty liver. He also has a knee injury which could cost up to $20,000 to replace.

The Press reported that the couple’s doctor said he could bring his cholesterol and blood levels into the acceptable level within 26 weeks. They have made an appeal to New Zealand Associate Minister of Immigration Nikki Kaye.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.                                                           28th July 2013.

PS : the part in blue reproduced from


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