NEW mums fret about gaining "baby weight" but dads are the ones piling on the kilos to a dangerous level.
Time poor, exhausted and much fatter than they realise, fathers in young families are a ticking health time bomb, research by health business Bupa shows.
Lisa Power, The Daily Telegraph June 13, 2012 12:00AM
Dads with kids at home are the most at risk. Three-quarters are overweight or obese, while a third believe they are slimmer than they are."Women are much more realistic in terms of their weight," Bupa chief medical officer Dr Paul Bates said.
"The data showed seven in 10 men were actually overweight of those surveyed, but only three in 10 rate themselves as being overweight. With women, six in 10 were overweight but five in 10 rated themselves as being overweight.
The study found 72 per cent of fathers under 40 with young families are overweight or obese while 79 per cent of dads aged over 40 living with kids also tip the scales to an overweight rating.
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Single and young couples under 40 do better, with 45 per cent and 40 per cent respectively classified as overweight.
Families are already feeling the effects of weight and lifestyle pressures, with more than half of parents reporting tiredness and fatigue. Almost a third suffer from headaches.
Dr Bates said it was clear dads were not making the link between weight and health.
"From a family point of view, it you are overweight, your kids' chance of being overweight is much also greater," he said.
"Parents need to set a good example by exercising and eating well. Being overweight gives you a much greater risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis."
Dr Bates said the alarming difference between the men's perception of how fat they are and reality might be a result of society getting heavier.
"Australia is unfortunately one of the more overweight countries in the world," he said. "We measure by an absolute standard, the BMI (body mass index), but the way you judge yourself is how heavy you are compared to the people around you."
Hurlstone Park couple Qew Druett and James Hector, 29, are determined not to let the weight gain happen to them. Ms Druett, 28, began an online weight loss course last week to shed the last of the kilos she gained during her pregnancy with baby Olive.
Mr Hector, who does not have a weight problem, is supporting her by eating the same healthy meals.
"Since I had Olive I needed to lose 20kg and I did 12kg," Ms Druett said.
"Then I didn't have much time to think about it but Olive is now 14 months old and I have only just finished breastfeeding."
She said working part-time and juggling a baby made it difficult to find the time to exercise.
"You would rather sacrifice time to spend with your kids and family than exercise. Getting organised to do the right shopping to cook good meals is one of the hardest things," Ms Druett said.