Overweight and obesity statistics

Overweight

In 2011/12, five million Australians aged 18 and over were overweight(BMI of 25.0kg/m2 to 29.9kg/m2). This accounts for more than a third (35%) of adult Australians.

Just over three million Australian men were overweight, or 42% of all males aged 18 and over. Close to two million Australian women were overweight, or approximately 28% of all females aged 18 and over.

% Overweight by age and gender (1)
Age group Male Female Total
18–24 27.7% 14.6% 21.3%
25–34 43.7% 23.1% 34.0%
35–44 45.6% 27.3% 36.6%
45–54 45.1% 33.0% 39.1%
55–64 40.6% 33.6% 37.2%
65–74 46.3% 33.2% 39.8%
75–84 48.9% 38.1% 43.2%
85+ 44.7% 36.4% 40.0%
Total 42.2% 28.2% 35.3%

Change in overweight status over time

Compared to 1995, the proportion of Australians that were overweight in 2012 has fallen by 6%.

% Overweight by time period (1)
  1995 2007/08 2011/12
Overweight (total) 37.6% 36.6% 35.3%
Overweight (males) 45.2% 42.1% 42.2%
Overweight (females) 29.9% 30.9% 28.2%

Obesity

In 2011/12, more than one in four adult Australians were obese. This represents almost four million Australians aged 18 and over (BMI of 30.0kg/m2 or more). Just over 2 million Australian men were obese, or approximately 28% of all males aged 18 and over.

Close to 2 million Australian women were obese, or approximately 28% of all females aged 18 and over.

% Obesity by age and gender (1)
Age group Male Female Total
18–24 13.1% 17.2% 15.1%
25-34 20.9% 20.2% 20.5%
35–44 29.3% 27.4% 28.4%
45–54 33.4% 30.6% 32.0%
55–64 37.9% 35.5% 36.7%
65–74 34.3% 36.1% 35.2%
75–84 23.6% 29.6% 26.8%
85+ 16.0% 21.9% 19.4%
Total 28.4% 28.2% 28.3%

Change in obesity status over time

Compared to 1995, the proportion of Australians that are obese in 2012 has increased by 47%.

% Obesity by time period (1)
  1995 2007/08 2011/12
Obesity (total) 18.7% 24.8% 27.5%
Obesity (males) 18.6% 25.6% 27.5%
Obesity (females) 18.9% 24.0% 27.5%

Socio-demographic status

In 2011/12, Australians living in regional/remote locations and those in the highest disadvantaged group were significantly more likely to be overweight/obese.

Being Australian born, having English as the main language spoken at home and being employed also significantly increased the likelihood of being overweight/obese.

% Overweight/obese by socio-demographic status (1)
    Overweight/obese
Country of birth Australia
Born overseas
64.8%
58.2%
Main language spoken at home English
Language other than English

64.8%
51.2%

Labour force Employed
Unemployed
62.3%
52.4%
Index of disadvantage Highest disadvantaged
Lowest disadvantaged
66.4%
58.5%
Remoteness Major cities
Regional and remote
60.2%
69.0%

Location

In 2011/12, the prevalence of overweight/obesity in adult Australians was lowest in VIC and NSW. Prevalence of overweight/obesity was highest in SA.

% Overweight/obese by state/territory (1)
State/territory %
South Australia 66.6%
Western Australia 65.2%
Queensland 64.9%
Tasmania 64.7%
Australian Capital Territory 62.2%
Northern Territory 62.1%
New South Wales 61.1%
Victoria 61.0%

Attitudes towards weight

Over half (55.7%) of Australians are trying to lose weight.

Only 30% of Australians who are obese (based on their BMI) described their weight status as obese. Furthermore, only one in three obese people are concerned about their weight. (2)

References

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey 2011/12;(4364.0)
  2. Heart Foundation. Relevance Survey 2011

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