Obesity in Australia seems to be reaching epidemic proportions, forcing changes in many aspects of that country's infrastructure. Its health officials are now revamping their fleet of ambulances to cope with a sharp rise in overweight patients.
Super-sized vehicles have been introduced and new air ambulances will be remodeled to carry heavier people. The ambulances will now be equipped with heavy-duty stretchers, capable of carrying patients weighing up to 220kg.
Special vehicles with over-sized wheelchairs and a hydraulic tailgate were introduced in New South Wales, a few years ago to transport larger people. Their workload has doubled since 2004. The state is situated on the southeastern coast of Australia.
Recently in Sydney, the capital of the New South Wales, it took 16 people several hours to take an injured man from his home to hospital.
He weighed about 400kg (63st) and had broken his leg.
Emergency workers had to demolish part of his house to lift him out.
According to some recent estimates, 67% of Australian men and over half of all women aged over 25 are overweight or obese.
A lack of exercise and a poor diet, including drinks loaded with sugar and high-fat snacks, are breeding a new generation of fat Australians.
Experts here are warning that by 2030 half of this country's children will be overweight or obese.
Breast and colon cancer as well as diabetes and heart disease have strong links to obesity, it may be noted.
It is reported that some Australian hospitals are now treating obese patients who are as young as two years old.