I am
Aussie men among the world’s most obese, new data
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Aussie men among the world’s most obese, new data

Media Release - 16 November 2020

Australia has the second highest rate of obese men among countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), placing them just behind the United States, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Australian women fared better, ranking eighth in terms of obesity, just behind New Zealand and Hungary.
The report, International health data comparisons 2020, compared health and health care data across OECD countries, focusing on Australia’s performance.

The Heart Foundation said the findings were a concern for Australians’ heart health.
Findings include:
  • Aussie men are the second most obese in OECD countries - Aussie men have the second highest rates of obesity (32%) among 23 OECD countries, behind the USA (38%).
  • Aussie women fared better than men but are still obese at a higher rate than the OECD average. The proportion of obese women in Australia was 8th highest out of 23 countries - 29% compared to the OECD average of 25%.
  • Aussies over the age of 15 drank an average of 9.5 litres of alcohol per capita in 2019 - Australia was in 18th position but our alcohol consumption was still higher that the OECD average of 8.8 litres per person.
  • Fewer smokers - Australia had the 6th lowest proportion of daily smokers among people aged 15 and over (11.2%), with Greece ranking highest, at 35%.
  • Our life expectancy at birth was 82.8 years – above OECD average of 80.7 years and 7th highest among OECD countries. The highest life expectancy was in Japan, where people could expect to live 84.2 years.

Heart Foundation comment

Heart Foundation Risk Assessment manager, Natalie Raffoul, said the report revealed that overweight and obesity levels were a global problem, and the findings were consistent with what we know about Australian trends.

“This is another reminder for Australians that their risk factors for heart disease are too high,” Ms Raffoul said.

“Being overweight or obese is a key risk factor for heart attacks and stroke. We know that two in every three Australian adults (67.0%) are overweight or obese, and there are no signs that this trend is about to change.

“Around 95 per cent of Australians are not eating the recommended five serves of vegetables per day and we are eating too many discretionary foods such as cakes, biscuits, fried foods and fast foods.  

“At the same time, more than 80 percent of Australian adults are not doing enough physical activity to meet physical activity guidelines, with close to one in five doing no physical activity at all. 

“While life expectancy in Australia is increasing, previous research shows we are living longer in poorer health, and many of our risk factors for heart disease continue to climb.”

“More positively, the report shows we have one of the lowest daily smoking rates among OECD nations. Australia had the sixth lowest number of people who smoke daily.”

Research Directory

Research Directory

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

More Australians die of Heart Disease than any other cause.

And the heartache lasts a lifetime. But you can help the Heart Foundation fund life-saving research to keep more families together....

The Heart Failure Toolkit

The Heart Failure Toolkit

The Toolkit provides health services with a targeted approach to addressing readmission rates and decreasing variation in care....

Heart Foundation Research Award Recipients

Heart Foundation Research Award Recipients

Explore our research award recipients and projects...

Advocating for healthy hearts throughout Australia

Advocating for healthy hearts throughout Australia

We're addressing the disparities in heart health so all Australians can live longer, healthier lives....

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Discover key information on heart-healthy eating and drinking....

Donate Monthly | Become a Regular Donor

Donate Monthly | Become a Regular Donor

Donate Monthly | Become a Regular Donor

Join the fight against heart disease....

Now is your chance to help make 4X the impact

Now is your chance to help make 4X the impact

Now is your chance to help make 4X the impact

Donate today, every dollar donated by October 7 will be quadrupled by our generous donors....

WEBINAR | Research Alumni Series 2020

WEBINAR | Research Alumni Series 2020

WEBINAR | Research Alumni Series 2020

The Heart Foundation is delivering a research webinar series for Heart Foundation research alumni....

Healthy chicken fajitas

Healthy chicken fajitas

20 minutes
Serves 4

Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce

Serves Makes 350g | (Serves 8 – about 2 tablespoons - 44g)

Italian recipes

Italian recipes

Italian recipes

Find heart healthy Italian recipes....

Our Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports

Discover our Annual reports from 2013 onwards. ...

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

This cardiac services directory presents information on cardiac rehab programs offered across Australia....

10 steps to protect your heart health

10 steps to protect your heart health

10 steps to protect your heart health

Ready to help your heart keep on beating? Here are 10 important ways to reduce your risk of heart disease for a healthier life.  ...

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Absolute CVD risk assessment is an integrated approach that estimates the cumulative risk of multiple risk factors to predict a heart attack or stroke event in the next five years....

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

At first, it didn’t cross my mind it could be something serious. ...

Physical activity in the workplace

Physical activity in the workplace

Physical activity in the workplace

Resources to help you create a more physically active workplace....

Mental health and heart disease

Mental health and heart disease

Mental health and heart disease

Having a mental health condition can have a negative impact on your heart health and increase your risk of heart disease....

Sweet potato breakfast hash

Sweet potato breakfast hash

Sweet potato breakfast hash

15 minutes
Serves 2

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

10 ways to get the right balance of fats 

Getting the right balance of fats in your diet can improve your heart health....

Breakfast bean and mushroom pizza

Breakfast bean and mushroom pizza

Breakfast bean and mushroom pizza

20 minutes
Serves 2

Donation receipts

Donation receipts

Donation receipts

Due to end of financial year and the ongoing lockdowns in several states, we are currently experiencing some delays in processing and receipting of donations....

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

The game is “hide and seek”. You play it without even realising. The shock is that when you play this game, you could be placing your heart health at risk....

Absolute CVD risk clinical guidelines

Absolute CVD risk clinical guidelines

The Absolute Cardiovascular Disease Risk (CVD) Guidelines helps healthcare professionals identify, prevent and manage a person's risk of developing CVD. ...

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Absolute CVD risk assessment resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Blood pressure and your heart

Blood pressure and your heart

Blood pressure and your heart

Understand blood pressure and how it can impact your heart health....

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Every day, 22 women lose their lives to this condition....

Strawberry fields oats

Strawberry fields oats

Strawberry fields oats

10 minutes
Serves 2