4364.0.55.001 - National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/12/2015   
   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 such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, while being underweight can also be a health risk factor for some people.

    Definitions

    Body Mass Index (BMI) is a commonly used measure for defining whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. In the National Health Survey, respondents’ height and weight were measured to determine their BMI score.

    In 2014-15, 26.8% of respondents aged 18 years and over did not have their height, weight or both measured. For these people, height and weight were imputed. For more information see Appendix 2: Physical measurements in the 2014-15 National Health Survey.

    Another method used to measure whether a person is a healthy weight or not is waist circumference. See Waist circumference for more information.

In 2014-15, 63.4% of Australians aged 18 years and over were overweight or obese (11.2 million people), comprised of 35.5% overweight (6.3 million people) and 27.9% obese (4.9 million people). A further 35.0% were of normal weight and 1.6% were underweight.

While the prevalence of overweight and obesity increased in Australia between 1995 (56.3%) and 2011-12 (62.8%), there was no significant increase between 2011-12 and 2014-15. Overall, 70.8% of men were overweight or obese in 2014-15, compared with 56.3% of women.

Graph Image for Persons aged 18 years and over - Proportion overweight or obese(a), 1995 to 2014-15

Footnote(s): (a) BMI scores of 25 and above

Source(s): National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15



Rates of overweight and obesity increase with age. Of men aged 45 years and over, almost four in five (79.4%) were overweight or obese in 2014-15, while two in three women (65.7%) of the same age were overweight or obese.

Graph Image for Persons aged 18 years and over - Proportion of males and females overweight or obese(a), 1995 to 2014-15

Footnote(s): (a) BMI Score of 25 and over

Source(s): National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15



In 2014-15, more women living in areas of most disadvantage in Australia were overweight or obese (first quintile; 61.1%) than women living in areas of least disadvantage (fifth quintile; 47.8%). For men there were no differences between areas of disadvantage. These patterns were similar to those of 2011-12.

Graph Image for Persons aged 18 years and over - Proportion overweight or obese by levels of disadvantage, 2014-15(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Based on the 2011 Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage. A lower Index of Disadvantage quintile (e.g. the first quintile) indicates an area with relatively greater disadvantage. A higher Index of Disadvantage (e.g. the fifth quintile) indicates an area with a relative lack of disadvantage. See the Glossary for more information.

Source(s): National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15



Rates of overweight and obesity also vary by remoteness areas. In 2014-15, 61.1% of adults living in Major Cities were overweight or obese compared with 69.2% in Inner Regional Australia and 69.2% also in Outer Regional and Remote Australia. This pattern was consistent with that of 2011-12.

Graph Image for Persons aged 18 years and over - Proportion overweight or obese by Remoteness Areas

Source(s): National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15