4727.0.55.006 - Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Updated Results, 2012–13  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/07/2014  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product


OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY

Being overweight or obese increases a person's risk of developing long-term health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. Being underweight can also be a health risk factor for some people. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a common measure for defining whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.
In the 2012–13 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, measured height and weight were collected to determine a person's Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI data for 2012–13 are not comparable with previous ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Surveys or National Health Surveys, in which BMI data were mainly based on self-reported height and weight. For information on how BMI is calculated see Body Mass Index in the Glossary.

BMI was only calculated for respondents for whom both height and weight were measured. The results presented below are based on this measured population.

UPDATED RESULTS FROM 2012–13

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 years

In 2012–13, around one in three (30%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 years were either overweight (20%) or obese (10%). A further 62% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were in the normal weight range and 8% were classified as underweight.

Similar proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and girls aged 2–14 years were classified as overweight/obese (28% and 32%, respectively). Girls aged 2–4 years were more likely than boys in this age group to be overweight/obese (28% compared with 17%), mainly due to a much higher proportion of girls than boys in the overweight category (22% compared with 11%).

PROPORTION OF OVERWEIGHT/OBESE CHILDREN BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children—2012–13
Graph: Proportion of Overweight or Obese Children by Sex

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over

In 2012–13, two-thirds (66%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were either overweight (29%) or obese (37%). A further 30% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were in the normal weight range and 4% were classified as underweight.

Similar proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and females were classified as overweight/obese (65% and 67%, respectively), however a larger proportion of males than females were overweight (31% compared with 26%) and a smaller proportion of males than females were obese (34% compared with 40%).

PROPORTION OF OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people— 2012–13

Graph: Proportion of Overweight People by Sex


In 2012–13, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females had higher obesity rates than males in all age groups from 18 years onwards, however the only statistically significant differences between male and female rates were for people in the 25–34 and 45–54 year age groups (7 percentage points and 13 percentage points, respectively).

PROPORTION OF OBESE PEOPLE BY SEX, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—2012–13
Graph: Proportion of Obese People by Sex

Combined overweight/obesity rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over were significantly higher in non-remote areas than in remote areas (67% compared with 62%), mainly due to higher obesity rates in non-remote areas (38% compared with 34%).

HOW DO THESE RATES COMPARE WITH THE RATES FOR NON-INDIGENOUS PEOPLE?

Children aged 2-14 years

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 years who were overweight/obese was higher than the rate for non-Indigenous children (rate ratio of 1.2). This was mainly due to higher obesity rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys (10% compared with 6%) and girls (11% compared with 7%). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls aged 5–9 years were almost twice as likely as non-Indigenous girls to be obese (13% compared with 7%). Obesity rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and girls aged 10–14 years were also higher than the comparable rates for non-Indigenous boys (13% compared with 6%) and girls (11% compared with 7%).

OVERWEIGHT AND OBESE CHILDREN(a), by Indigenous status—2012–13
Graph: Overweight and Obese Children by Indigenous status


People aged 15 years and over

After adjusting for differences in age structure between the two populations, the combined overweight/obesity rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over was higher than the comparable rate for non-Indigenous people (rate ratio of 1.2). This is due to higher obesity rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and females in almost every age group. Overall, after adjusting for differences in the age structure of the two populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were 1.6 times as likely as non-Indigenous people to be obese (rate ratio of 1.4 for males and 1.7 for females).

Graph Image for Obese Males, by Indigenous status and age, 2012-13

Footnote(s): (a) Difference between rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous males is not statistically significant.

Source(s): 2012-13 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2011-12 Australian Health Survey



Graph Image for Obese Females, by Indigenous status and age, 2012-13

Footnote(s): (a) Difference between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous females is not statistically significant.

Source(s): 2012-13 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2011-12 Australian Health Survey