Obese Australians to pay ''Fat tax''

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Melbourne, Mar 2 (UNI) Putting on extra pounds can make the overweight Australians go bankrupt because now they have to pay tax for that extra flab.

A "Fat tax" is being imposed on obese Australians - with life insurance firms charging at least 50 per cent extra on premiums.

The increased charge can be as much as 300 per cent if obese applicants fall into other high-risk categories, such as being a smoker or having previous medical conditions. Almost all major insurance companies have introduced the policy.

Lifebroker Financial Assurance, Australia's leading online life insurance broker, told The Sunday Mail that overweight people should expect to pay higher premiums.

''Being significantly overweight means you are at greater risk of contracting certain diseases. It is the same as increasing a smoker's premium or someone who has previous medical conditions, '' Chantelle Pain, insurance consultant with the company, said A BMI (body mass index) of 30 or more is attracting the price rise, with the information gathered on an application form that requiresyou to provide personal details including height and weight.

For a healthy 55-year-old non-smoking male with no weight problems, life insurance should cost about 1700 dollars a year for 500,000 dollars of cover.

Australia is in the grip of an obesity epidemic, with almost one in two women and two in three men suffering weight problems.

Obesity-related illness kills 17,000 Australians a year through cancer, heart problems, liver disease and diabetes.

UNI XC ARB DB2005

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