Overweight and obesity rates across Australia, 2011–12

Public health Well-being Obesity Australia

This report presents overweight and obesity rates at the local level across Australia.

In 2011–12, 10.8 million adults were either overweight or obese, and of these 4.7 million were obese.

This report shows that the percentage of adults who were obese varied threefold across local areas, from 14% in Sydney North Shore and Beaches to 41% in Loddon-Mallee-Murray. In three-quarters or more of communities for which we have comparable data, one in four adults were obese in 2011–12.

The percentage of adults who were overweight or obese increased with geographic remoteness and lower socioeconomic status. Yet still half of adults (54%) in the wealthiest urban areas were overweight or obese, and two in 10 (19%) were obese.

Overweight and obesity rates are increasing rapidly across Australia. In 1989, 44% of adults were overweight or obese, rising to 63% in 2011–12. Health problems related to excess body weight impact the health care system, as well as individuals, families and the community.

Obesity imposed an estimated $2 billion in direct costs on Australia’s health system in 2008. People who are obese face health care costs that are 30% higher than those with more healthy body weights. Australia has guidelines to assist health professionals in helping people who are overweight or obese.

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