People living outside of Australian major cities are 10% more likely to be overweight or obese than their metropolitan peers.
New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that 7 out of 10 adults in outer regional and remote areas were overweight or obese last year, compared with 6 out of 10 in major cities.
62.8% of all Australians were considered overweight or obese, categories that the ABS defined by a minimum BMI of 25, based on individuals’ height and weight measurements.
Overweight and obesity rates varied across states, with the lowest rates in Victoria and New South Wales (61.0% and 61.1% respectively) and the highest in Western Australia and South Australia (65.2% and 66.6%).
Australia’s population has become increasingly overweight and obese over time, with rates growing from 56.3% in 1995 to 61.2% in 2007-08 and 62.8% last year, comprising 35.3% overweight and 27.5% obese persons.
1.7% of Australians were underweight last year, having BMIs under 20.
The ABS warned that being overweight or obese increased a person’s risk of developing long-term health conditions including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. Being underweight could also be a health risk factor for some people, it said.
In 2011-12, the average adult man was 175.6 cm tall and weighed 85.9 kg. The average Australian woman was 161.8 cm tall and weighed 71.1 kg.
People living in outer regional and remote Australia also had higher rates of daily smoking than those in major cities (22% versus 15%), the ABS found.
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