Do you think this woman is fat? Most did

STANDING a modest 163cm tall, model Melanie tips the scales at 70kg. Her body mass index makes her borderline overweight but she is the average Australian woman.

Yet when photos of her were shown to members of the public, most thought she was fat, Body and Soul reported.

The typical Australian woman now weighs 70.1kg, up from 67kg in 1995, while men are heavier too - 85.2kg compared with 82kg.

And this upward trend in size and weight does not augur well for our future health.

"One and a half million Australians are overweight so we're getting heavier," Kristen Hazelwood, head of education and prevention at the Australian Diabetes Council, said.

"Being overweight contributes to two major health issues - heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Obesity is also linked to cancer, depression and kidney disease."

Hazelwood warned our children may be the first generation who don't outlive their parents but the nation still doesn't get how grave the situation is.

"It's not the pear shape that's the problem, it's the apple shape," she said.

Carrying extra weight around the abdomen, as Melanie does, is a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

Melanie, who is a paid model, knew her image would be used in a weight debate.

A diet high in junk food and a sedentary lifestyle are usually to blame for weight gain.

But Hazelwood said there was another factor at play: we're unhappy.

"We've forgotten how to enjoy life," she said.

"We tend to work too hard and we don't make time to get out in the fresh air. We're eating in front of the TV and because of our stress levels we tend to go for comfort foods."     (adelaidenow.com.au)


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