The ABC News reports Australians are getting bigger and the funeral industry is having to make changes to accommodate the nation's growing girth.

 Australia is being left behind when it comes to tackling the obesity epidemic, health leaders warn.

Hospitals have already modified furniture and fittings to accommodate the needs of larger patients, and now the national obesity epidemic is driving change in the funeral and cemetery sectors.

Coffins are larger, cremators have bigger openings, and graves are sometimes widened to accommodate larger bodies.

Australasian Cemeteries and Crematoria Association president Darryl Thomas said the nation's widening girth was affecting most aspects of his industry.

The latest statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show more than 11 million people — about 63 per cent of the population — were overweight or obese in 2014-15, and authorities expect those numbers to grow.

The Australian Bariatric Innovations Group, which represents workers in the health and funeral industries, said the public needed to be better educated about all the consequences of obesity, and communication between the health and funeral sectors needed to be improved.

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