More than six out of ten Australian adults are too fat to be
healthy, according to data that shows 10.8 million are
overweight or obese.
Obesity has ballooned from 11 per cent in 1989 to 28 per cent
in 2011-12, when the data for a new National Health Reporting
Authority document was recorded.
On a local level, even the slimmest area has a problem, with
almost half the population obese or overweight, according to
the document released on Thursday.
The fattest area is western NSW, where 79 per cent of people
are overweight or obese, according to the report compiled by
the authority at the request of the Council of Australian
It divides the country according to the Medicare local areas
established in 2011 to promote community-level health
The second fattest area is Queensland's Townsville-Mackay,
followed by country South Australia, Victoria's Gippsland and
Western Australia's Goldfields-Midwest.
About three quarters of the population are overweight in all
The report regards a body mass index of 25 or more as
overweight and 30 or more as obese.
Eastern Sydney is the slimmest area, with 49 per cent of
people overweight or obese, while Sydney's north shore and
beaches and inner northwest Melbourne follow at 50 per cent.
Obesity rates range from the north shore and beaches' 14 per
cent to 41 per cent in Lodden-Mallee-Murray, which spans
Victoria and NSW.
While overweight or obesity rates increase with geographic
remoteness and lower socioeconomic status, 54 per cent of
adults in the wealthiest urban areas are overweight or obese
and 19 per cent are obese.
In 12 local areas, more than three in ten people are obese,
according to the report.
"Rates of adult obesity have been rising very rapidly over
time," says performance authority CEO Dr Diane Watson
She hopes the data will help doctors and officials come up
with localised solutions.
COAG wants the proportion of the population in the healthy
weight range to increase to 42 per cent by 2018.
The figure was 36 per cent in 2011-12.