South African chef Albert Buitenhuis, who is facing deportation from New Zealand for being too fat, has been given a 23-month reprieve.
However, Albert Buitenhuis will not be allowed any publicly-funded healthcare, a government official said.
Albert Buitenhuis, who weighs 286 lbs, appealed two months ago after his work visa renewal application was rejected on the grounds he did not have “an acceptable standard of health”.
He has shed 67 lbs since he moved to the city of Christchurch six years ago.
Albert Buitenhuis, who is facing deportation from New Zealand for being too fat, has been given a 23-month reprieve
Associate Immigration Minister Nikki Kaye said the main reason Albert Buitenhuis’s application had been declined was due to the osteoarthritis in his knee.
However, she granted Albert Buitenhuis and his wife, Marthie, visa extensions but said he would “have to meet any health costs himself”.
Albert Buitenhuis, who wrote about his experiences in a blog called The Too Fat Chef, told local media that the government’s decision was “bitter sweet”.
“Of course, we are pleased and relieved that we are now able to stay. But at the same time we would rather rewind so that none of this took place,” he said in an interview with Fairfax media.
“We are really starting from scratch again. We have lost thousands of dollars fighting this and we don’t know where we will live because our home is gone. I am glad the fight is over but I am still afraid of what lies ahead.”
Albert Buitenhuis, who is 5ft 10in tall, said he aims to lose another 55 lbs over the next few months.
New Zealand has one of the highest obesity rates in the developed world, with nearly 30% of people overweight.
The immigration department has said it is important that “all migrants have an acceptable standard of health to minimize costs and demands on New Zealand’s health services”.
US health regulators have approved weight-loss pill Belviq, marking the first new drug treatment in 13 years.
Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride), made by Arena Pharmaceutical, can be used by obese or overweight adults with at least one condition.
The drug achieved only modest results in clinical studies, helping people lose on average about 5% of their body weight.
Belviq was rejected in 2010 because of concerns over tumors that developed in animals tested with the drug.
After San Diego-based Arena resubmitted its application with more data, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found little risk of tumors in humans using the drug.
FDA approved weight-loss pill Belviq, marking the first new drug treatment in 13 years
The medication is expected to launch in 2013.
Belviq is designed to block appetite signals in the brain, making patients feel fuller with smaller amounts of food.
Belviq is a serotonin 2C receptor agonist indicated as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with an initial body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obese) or 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition, (e.g., hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes).
The FDA warned that Belviq is not for women who are pregnant or nursing.
With US obesity rates approaching 35% in adults and associated healthcare costs on the rise, many doctors have urged health regulators to give the green light to new weight-loss treatments.
But the agency has set high standards for such medication after safety problems with previously popular weight-loss drugs.
The so-called fen-phen combination had to be pulled from the market in 1997 after being linked to heart valve damage.
In a statement, the FDA said Belviq did not appear to carry the same risks.
However, known side effects of Belviq do include depression, migraine and memory lapses.
The FDA-approved label says the drug should not be used for more than 12 weeks if a 5% weight loss does not occur.
Arena will be required to conduct six studies after marketing the drug, including a study on the drug’s effect on long-term heart health.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to ban any soft drink over 16 ounces across the city by March 2013.
Michael Bloomberg believes that banning the bubbles will combat obesity, diabetes, and other health problems plaguing the people of NYC.
“Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, <<Oh, this is terrible>>,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said to the New York Times.
“New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something.”
According to the New York City Health Department, more than half of adult New Yorkers are overweight (34%) or obese (22%).
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to ban any soft drink over 16 ounces across the city by March 2013
Michael Bloomberg, who was the driving force behind the city’s calorie counting and anti-smoking campaigns, hopes to implement the ban soon.
His close attention to health issues has earned him the nickname “Nanny Bloomberg”.
The decision will affect everything from 7-Eleven Big Gulps to Starbucks Ventis, leaving a bad taste in some resident’s mouths.
“If people want to drink 24 ounces, it’s their decision,” said Zara Atal, 20, a college student from the Upper East Side to the New York Times.
The ban would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages.
It also would not affect beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.
Still, the NYC Beverage Association balked at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s idea.
“The city is not going to address the obesity issue by attacking soda, because soda is not driving the obesity rates. The overall American diet is,” they said in a statement to CBS.
Michael Bloomberg admitted he occasionally sips a diet soda on a hot day, but argues that there won’t be any laws restricting the amount of small sodas one can purchase.
“Your argument, I guess, could be that it’s a little less convenient to have to carry two 16-ounce drinks to your seat in the movie theater rather than one 32 ounce,” he said.
“I don’t think you can make the case that we’re taking things away.”
Before the proposal can curb New Yorkers’ thirst, the Board of Health must approve it. Experts believe approval is all but confirmed, considering that all the members were appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.