Obese Immigrant Fights Deportation in New Zealand

Citing the potential burden on its health care system, the country has refused to renew a South African chef's work visa

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Joerg Sarbach / ASSOCIATED PRESS

An obese man is seen in Bremerhaven, Germany, on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008.

It is widely understood that your extra roll of belly fat can be a health problem, but now it’s actually getting in the way of where you can live — and not just because you need to widen the doorway.

In May, Albert Buitenhuis, a 50-year-old South African citizen who currently lives in New Zealand, was denied renewal of his work visa because of his weight. Immigration authorities in New Zealand stated that Buitenhuis — who currently weighs 286 pounds — no longer had “an acceptable standard of health and could put heavy demands on the country’s health services.” His increased risk of “diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, some cancers, premature joint disease, impaired glucose tolerance and an enlarged fatty liver” was the cause of his visa rejection.

In 2007, Buitenhuis and his wife, Marthie, moved to Christchurch, New Zealand from South Africa. Until now his visa was renewed “with very little problem” and without any mention of Albert’s weight. Six years later, he works as a chef at a local restaurant and is actually slimmer than he was when he arrived. Though still clinically obese, he has lost about 66 pounds since he immigrated.

Because Albert is the principal applicant on the work visa, both he and his wife are facing deportation and have been ordered to stop working immediately. In response to their ineligibility to renew their visas, both Marthie and Albert have appealed.

Marthie stated, “We’ve committed no crime and did nothing wrong other than my husband being a foodie.” The Buitenhuises are hardly the only foodies in New Zealand. According to The Press, the country is currently the third most obese country in the world, behind the United States and Mexico. Let’s hope other overeaters in the country can’t be ejected as easily.

6 comments
Uniscorn
Uniscorn

I see their point. 

286 pounds is pretty ridiculous, and being a "foodie" is just an excuse.
You can easily love food and not be obese, just eat right, watch your portions, work out and cook from scrap.

But hey, he can always move to the US, I'm sure they won't mind.

kaitala007
kaitala007

@Uniscorn As an American I must say ouch.  Please tell us how you really feel.  I'm kidding of course.  You are entitled to your very rude opinion.  Have a good day.

Lilolebob
Lilolebob

So why the 5 year old picture of a fat man on a different continent?

RalphAllen
RalphAllen

He should take this for a year and then they would let him stay.

A new FDA approved diet pill called Belviq just went on the market.Belviq make people more likely to succeed with weight loss since they feel full more quickly and it reduces food cravings.People who take Belviq with diet and exercise were 2 times more likely to lose 5% body weight and 3 times more likely to lose 10% body weight than the people who just did diet and exercise alone. The label states that if you do not lose 5% of your body weight in 12 weeks then consider stopping.Those that do respond in 12 (about 45% of patients) weeks go on to lose over 10% of their body weight in one year.Losing 22 pounds for a 220 pound person is life changing. So 45% of those taking Belviq lose significant amount of weight.

Belviq has a second mode of action to reduce blood sugar which may end up preventing diabetes in many cases. Diabetics and pre-diabetics who took Belviq,REGARDLESS of weight loss, saw their blood sugar numbers drop by double digit percentages. IE HbA1c -0.9 to -1.2 and fasting glucose feel -27.The cost of medications to reduce HbA1c levels exceeds the cost of Belviq. (seeArena'sBloomDM phase III trial) These reductions in diabetic symptoms plus the weight loss at the same time makes Belviq a medicalbargain.

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

“We’ve committed no crime and did nothing wrong other than my husband being a foodie.”

wrong. if part of the visa regulations stipulate you must maintain a healthy standard of living and you don't do it, then you're doing something wrong. being a foodie isn't a synonym for being fat. being a foodie means you appreciate and seek out good food (and are probably more than a bit of a pretentious dbag), not that you're almost as wide as your are tall

RichardPeter
RichardPeter

y must they make sure a decision, that is y american remain the best immigration of today, becoz they will always put there condition in your shoes n see what your passing through before placing a decision. 

or do u think that man is happy with his condition, u should be happy that he eat good in your country, meaning ur govt is doing fine.