4724.0.55.003 - Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Males, 2004-05  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/12/2009  First Issue
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The Body Mass Index (or BMI) is a tool used to measure weight relative to height. The weight and height of a person is calculated to produce a score that can then be categorised as one of four types; underweight, normal, overweight or obese.

Obesity increases the risk of developing a range of health problems including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and certain cancers. The prevalence of obesity for Indigenous males aged 15 years and over was slightly higher for those living in major cities and regional areas (non-remote) than in remote areas (26% and 27% respectively).

Graph shows the BMI score of Indigenous males aged 15 years and over, for 2004–05

About half (52%) of Indigenous males aged 15 to 24 years were in the normal body range, while a quarter (or 25%) were considered to be overweight. Almost one in ten (9%) were found to be underweight, the highest proportion out of all the age groups. Almost one in four (24%) of Indigenous males aged 55 years and over had a normal BMI rating, while 39% were considered overweight and a further 39% were obese.

After adjusting for age differences between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous population, Indigenous men were twice likely to be classified as underweight. Indigenous men were also twice as likely to be obese than non-Indigenous men.