Washboard abs out, beer bellies in? Not according to Queensland Health.

Flaunted by Seth Rogen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jason Segel, and pretty much every male actor that hasn’t featured in a Magic Mike movie, the ‘dad bod’ has featured in the media as much as pretty much any world news event the past few weeks. What is a ‘dad bod’ you ask? The beer belly or gut or whatever you want to call it. The appearance of one that drinks beer regularly, eats pizza, doesn’t work out regularly, yet isn’t overweight, rather is described as ‘cuddly’ or a similar term.

Or, to use the definition offered by US student Mackenzie Pearson, who coined the term, it’s “a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.’ It’s not an overweight guy, but it isn’t one with washboard abs, either.”

Despite its already problematic elements due to the fact that the same trend of societal ambivalence to appearance hasn’t been extended to women, it has quickly become one of the most talked about topics of the past few weeks, accepted to the point that Queensland Health has now weighed in on it.

Today, Queensland Health has issued a media release on the subject, saying that “Men shouldn’t look to the current trend of the ‘dad bod’ as inspiration for their health and fitness”.

Exercise scientist and physical activities officer with the Public Safety Business Agency, Rob Thiel-Paul said that while it is unreasonable to expect every man to be a chiselled
Adonis, promoting ‘beer bellies’ and fast food binges isn’t the answer – nor is it attractive.

“The evidence is clear that men shouldn’t let a healthy diet and exercise go by the wayside as they get older,” Rob said.

“Men should instead take this time to sit and look at their overall health and how their lifestyle habits are impacting their health.

“Many men don’t realise the things they do every day may be impacting their health and how they feel.”

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said in 2014, over 60 percent of adult Queensland men were reported to be overweight and obese (nearly 80 percent of those aged between 45 to 54 years were reported to be obese).

“This week, Men’s Health Week is the perfect opportunity for the Queensland community to ask what factors in men and boy’s environments contribute to the overall status of men’s
health,” Dr Young said.

“I would implore fathers, mothers and other carers of young boys to talk openly about health-related issues and encourage them to share their feelings and concerns.

“It is also important that they act as positive role models, particularly around things like smoking, healthy food choices, physical activity and alcohol consumption.

“The behaviours they learn in their early stages, set important behavioural patterns for later in life.”

Mr Thiel-Paul went on to say said that getting healthy, being healthy and staying healthy comes from turning awareness into action.

“The keys to improving your overall health and fitness are small changes to ensure you move regularly and chose healthier food choices in smaller portions.

“Maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t have to be an obsession.

“It doesn’t take hours in the gym, living on water and vegetables. It takes self-awareness, some self-discipline and persistence.

“Maintaining your health, including weight and fitness, demonstrates respect for yourself and those that love and depend on you.

“Encouraging men, dads or not, to make positive changes toward their health, will ensure their futures are filled with energy and have less chance of chronic disease.

“What’s more attractive than that?”