One in four Australians aged 18 years and over were obese in 2007-08, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Since 1995, the rate of obesity has risen from 19% to 24%, with men gaining weight faster than women.
There were just as many people overweight (37%) as there were people of normal weight (37%) in 2007-08, a slight shift from 1995 when there were more people of normal weight (41%) than there were people overweight (38%).
Rates of obesity were related to a number of environmental and socio-economic conditions: A third of Australian adults living in areas of most disadvantage were obese (33%), almost double that of people in areas of least disadvantage (17%). People who had not completed Year 12 were more likely to be obese (31%) than those who had completed this level of education (19%). More adults in outer regional and remote Australia were obese (31%) than those in major cities (23%).
When data on overweight and obesity are combined, the picture of increasing weight gain in Australians becomes more evident. In 2007-08, 61% of adult Australians were overweight or obese. This rate was higher for men (68%) than women (55%), and higher for older people than younger people. Three-quarters of 65-74 year olds were overweight or obese (75%) compared with 37% of 18-24 year olds.
The consequences of this level of overweight and obesity are increased risks of chronic health conditions, increased health service use and increased mortality.
(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics)