NEW YORK – New Zealand immigration officials are keeping a U.K. wife from joining her husband "down under" because they say she is too fat, the Daily Mail reports.
British citizens Rowan Trezise, 33, and Richie Trezise, 35, are living apart as she tries desperately to shed the pounds needed to comply with New Zealand guidelines that immigrants maintain a healthy BMI, or body mass index.
BMI is a weight-height ratio that estimates percentage of body fat. The New Zealand Immigration Service requires all applicants to undergo a complete medical examination, which includes body size measures like "waist circumference."
The regulations were supposedly put into place for budget reasons. The country's health care system cannot afford to open its doors to overweight immigrants, a spokesman for New Zealand's Fight the Obesity Epidemic explained to the Daily Mail.
Over half of New Zealand adults and nearly one-third of New Zealand children are already overweight or obese, according to the group. Those figures are expected to rise, as are the health problems associated with being overweight, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Richie Trezise managed to trim two inches off his waistline, the Daily Mail reports, bringing his BMI down and allowing him to take the first step toward the couple's dream of resettling in New Zealand.
Rowan Trezise is alone at home and still struggling.
In an interview with the paper, Richie Trezise admitted his wife is having trouble losing the weight — a difficulty which may force the couple to abandon their overseas plans and stay in the U.K. for good.
They've set Christmas as their deadline.