Published in the Daily Telegraph 4 December 2020

Title: How to address weighty issue

Author: Claire Issacs



With summer here and lockdown bodies being revealed for the first time in a while, there are possibly more dad bods than Bradbods on display right now. But the experts say it’s important men pay attention to the health risks they can actually bring.

“Men don’t all have to be chiselled but need to pay attention to a few health indicators,” says GP and founder of Osana Care, Kevin Cheng. “First, waist circumference is a strong indicator for heart disease and diabetes, more than overall weight or body mass index. Men should have a waist circumference below 95 cm for a reduced risk of chronic disease – this is perhaps the medical definition of a dad bod.”

“Getting the paunch, or pot belly, is a bad sign – this is known as ‘central obesity’ and has a high correlation with metabolic disease, such as arterial plaque, high cholesterol or blood pressure, and fatty liver. Central obesity also contributes to cancer, arthritis and depression.”

Next, dad bods mean less muscle tone – something that is important to protect your bones, joints and back, and maintains your energy levels. “Having good muscle tone helps with weight loss by having a high metabolic rate. It also helps reduce the risk of fractures and injuries when you’re older and gives you greater endurance and strength,” Cheng says.

He says dad bods can also affect body image. “The softer look of a dad bod and move away from body perfection is great, but it doesn’t mean men don’t fall into the trap of linking self-esteem to body image and perception by others,” Cheng says.

In order to keep weight off as you age, make sure you expend more energy than you consume. “There is good evidence for intermittent fasting (periods of time during the day or two low calorie days per week), exercising an hour per day and minimising your sitting time, and cutting out sugar and refined carbohydrates,” Cheng says.

He recommends chatting to your GP before starting a weight loss program.



Troy Steel, pictured right, is 47 years old. He is a father of eight children and has four grandchildren.

After his weight ballooned in lockdown, Troy and partner Leslea have both dropped the kilos by following the 28 By Sam Wood program. “Both the physical and mental health effects of the healthier lifestyle and weight loss have been huge,” Troy says.

THEN: “I was already massive before lockdown, but the first month of lockdown was especially hard and my weight ballooned to almost 160kg. I was morbidly obese.”

NOW: “Our whole world has changed for the better. I’m now a better role model for the children and, with the added benefit of health, being around for them for much longer rather than be a heart attack waiting to happen.

“My cardiologist says I’ve literally added years to my life.”

HIS MESSAGE: “Start! Just start! Make the decision and then stick to it.”