Woman 'denied New Zealand residency for being too fat and told to leave country'

South African national Mondelea Bezuidenhout, 36, who once weighed 20 stone, was horrified when officials told her she needed to lose almost five stone to be allowed to live in New Zealand with her young family.

Mondelea Bezuidenhout claims she was told to shift nearly five stone or leave New Zealand
A woman claims she was denied residency in New Zealand because she was " too fat ".

Mondelea Bezuidenhout moved from Port Elizabeth in South Africa to Palmerston North in New Zealand in 2018 to begin her new life with her partner and young kids.

Seeking a way to stay their permanently with her family, she applied for residency.

But she was horrified to learn that officials had trashed her application because her body mass index (BMI) is "too high", she claims.

One study on the use of BMI in modern medicine published in the British Journal of General Practice went as far as to call the use of the measurement standard "unethical".

The main issue is that BMI doesn't measure a person's body fat when compared to muscle - a significantly heavier form of tissue.

Officials said 36-year-old Mondelea's excess weight could put considerable strain on New Zealand's government-funded healthcare system.

She claims to have been told to shift 30kg (four stone and seven pounds) of weight or to get out of the country.

Mondelea said she was allowed to remain in the country after being granted a special dispensation at an appeal.

She claims officials refused the application because she would put too much strain on the public healthcare system.

Mondelea slashed a massive 10 BMI points from her score and managed to secure a GP referral saying she was in good health.

And now Mondelea, who once weighed 128 kilogrammes (20 stone), has raised eyebrows by saying she wants to become a plus-size model.

She told South African media: "I've always wanted to be a plus-size model, like the Donna Claire ladies - I even named my daughter Donna- Lee."

She now plans to become a plus-size model.

Mondelea told how she now works out five days a week and is "not bothered by fat shamers who made me feel as if I was a criminal".

The mother of two added: "I've always been bigger than other people and I've accepted myself for who I am."