Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Portly Australians

When I say Australia, what is the first thing that pops into your head?
"Cricket!" "Rugby!" "Beaches!" "Fit bodies!"
Great! You have correctly identified the most popular images associated with the country...Now it's time for a reality check...

AFP has the latest from Australia:

Australia has an illusion of being a nation of sportsmen and women," said
Deakin University obesity expert Boyd Swinburn.

More than 7.5 million of the 21 milllion who live in Australia are now estimated to be overweight or obese, accounting for two-thirds of all men, half the women and one quarter of the nation's children.

International studies consistently rank Australia among the fattest countries in the world, with the nation's Baker Heart Institute in 2008 suggesting it faced a "fat bomb" outranking even that in the United States.

Getting fatter means needing more space...As a result an entire industry of things designed for the human body has to upsize starting with toilet seats...

The standard strength of toilet seats is slated to triple, after the national safety watchdog Standards Australia found the maximum unsupported weight capacity of 45 kilogrammes was not enough.
Toilet seats will soon have to pass flex and rigidity tests at 150 kilogrammes -- "a precautionary measure to accommodate the increasing size of humans," a Standards spokeswoman said.

Just in case your toilet seat,designed for pre-McDonald's humans,can't take the stress of your new 'normal' weight and you fall into the toilet, don't fret...Just call emergency services...

The Royal Flying Doctors, Australia's iconic outback air ambulance, is the latest service to supersize, announcing last month that it was seeking larger aircraft to cope with heavier patients.
The new Flying Doctors planes will be able to carry total patient loads of up to 260 kilogrammes (572 pounds), while with current aircraft individual patients weighing more than 140 kilogrammes (308 pounds) must travel by road.The planes will join a fleet of "mega lift" road ambulances already in use in New South Wales, Australia's most populous state

In case you don't make it to the hospital, funeral directors are also up-sizing...

with the standard coffin size growing from 18 inches (46 centimetres) across the shoulder to 20 inches. Most coffin-makers now stocked a range right up to 32 inches—once considered a "custom order," said Heritage [president of the Australian Funeral Directors Association]. Crematoriums were upgrading their ovens to expand door widths closer to 100 centimetres (40 inches) and gone were the days of a "standard" grave, he said.