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Grabbable gut guy backs diet, fitness
John McConnell is well known to West Australians as the "grabbable gut" guy in the LiveLighter anti-obesity campaign.

He's 66, loves golf and apart from a few extra kilos, considers himself pretty average.

Yet John McConnell - or at least his stomach's spare tyre - is well known to West Australians as the "grabbable gut" guy in the LiveLighter anti-obesity campaign.

Until this week, the Sydneysider, who works part-time for an advertising management company, had not seen the advertisement.

He still refers to his weight under imperial measurements, estimated at 14 1/2 stone - or 92kg.

"I'm probably a stone overweight but I look after myself and keep pretty fit by doing lots of walking and playing golf a few times a week," he said.

Mr McConnell says his diet is "pretty good" and he tends to be a "meat and veg" man. "I eat whatever the wife dishes up," he said.

LiveLighter campaign director Melanie Fineberg said the "grabbable gut" and toxic fat advertisements did not target significantly obese people.

It aimed to educate average adults who were a little overweight and needed extra encouragement to get back to a healthy weight.

"The toxic fat you see in our ads is real medical footage taken during an operation on a man who was moderately overweight," she said.

"A number of people have contacted us saying they had no idea how overweight they were until they saw our ads or used the tools on our website."

The obesity rate in WA rural areas has hit a new high - more than a third of people - and is fast outstripping city dwellers.

Health Department figures show obesity rates were stable at 24-25 per cent in Perth people aged 16 and over in the past five years but the rate in rural WA has risen alarmingly to 33.2 per cent last year.

The figures were released for Monday's "Girth Hour" - a national campaign to get people to adopt a health or fitness goal for National Health Awareness Month.

It was launched in response to concerns 70 per cent of Australians could be overweight or obese by 2020, up from 61 per cent now.

WA's public health executive director Tarun Weeramanthri said WA and other States had increasing rates of adult obesity. This had a big impact on the health and wellbeing of West Australians, the health system and the community.