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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 23:58 GMT 00:58 UK
Men's future goes pear-shaped
Obese man
The characteristic pear-shape of the British male
Snake hips are no longer a reality for the overwhelming majority of British men, research has found.

Traditionally, the effects of middle aged spread are most evident around the midriff, but the latest study finds bums, hips and thighs are also suffering from an inflation problem.

The study shows men's hips have grown by two inches in the past 30 years and if the trend continues, the average size of the male girth could soon be 42 inches.

One in 10 men surveyed by Nimble bread said they never got undressed in front of their partner because they were self conscious about the size of their bum.

All over problem

Body expert Tony Rosella, who surveyed 500 men and 500 women and studied images of 26 male volunteers' bodies, said the research showed that men's bodies were getting bigger in all areas.

"Of the men we scanned, in addition to the increase in hip size, over the past 30 years their average waist size had increased by 3.4 inches and their chests by three inches."

Comparisons were made with the size of the volunteers' fathers 30 years ago.

It seems that many men are unaware of the problem. Whilst almost half of the men in the study were clinically overweight, only one in three actually believed they were prone to weight gain.

When presented with a scan of their body, a third were shocked to find that their bottom was bigger than they thought it was.

Armchair addicts

The study also showed that one in six men watched at least seven hours of sport a week on TV, with one in three doing no exercise at all.

Fewer than one in 10 of the men questioned ate three meals a day, compared with a third of men 30 years ago.

Almost one in two men said at least half their food was pre-prepared or takeaways.

Sarah Eden, spokeswoman for Nimble, said; "It seems that one of the main reasons why men are gaining weight is because they don't understand the link between weight control and a healthy, nutritious diet."

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Mandy Baker
"Bottoms, hips and thighs are expanding"
See also:

15 Feb 01 | Health
19 Jul 02 | Health
30 Mar 01 | Health
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