Australia’s growing obesity epidemic

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Despite the focus obesity over the past 10 years the number of people living with obesity  has increased at an alarming rate and continues to accelerate.

A new report released by the Collective for Action on Obesity shows that over a period of just three years, a further 900,000 began living with obesity.  Today almost one-third of adults are now classed as obese and one-quarter of children are obese or overweight.

Overweight and obesity is linked to poor mental and social health as well as complications and chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnoea, orthopaedic and gastrointestinal problems.

The increasing numbers of children living with obesity is particularly concerning as research shows that health and mortality risks increase with the number of years someone is living with obesity.  This means children experiencing obesity are more likely to experience health complications and live with chronic conditions as adults.

According to the report obesity  is costing the economy $11.8 billion ($5.4 billion in direct health costs and $6.4 billion in indirect costs in 2017/2018).

Key facts from the report

  • Less than a third of Australians are considered to be in the ‘normal weight’ range (not experiencing overweight, obesity or underweight).
  • The proportion of the population living with obesity has increased by 3.4% from 27.9% to 31.3%.
  • 900,000 more people are living with obesity since 2014-15, increasing from almost 4.9 million to 5.8 million.
  • If the current trend continues, more than 40% of the Australian population will be living with obesity in the next ten years.

You can find out more information about the Collective for Action on Obesity  and read the full report here.

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