Fewer children overweight or obese in Victoria


Just over one in five (22.6 per cent) children aged 2-17 years in Victoria were overweight or obese in 2017-18, down from 28.6 per cent in 2014-15, according to new data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Director of Health, Louise Gates, said the 2017-18 National Health Survey showed this trend was not mirrored in the adult population where two thirds (68.3 per cent) of adults were overweight or obese, an increase from 63.3 per cent in 2014-15. Men (75.9 per cent) were more likely to be overweight or obese than women (60.7 per cent).

“The survey also showed that one in five (20.2 per cent) Victorians experienced mental and behavioural conditions in 2017-18, an increase from 17.5 per cent in 2014-15 and in line with the national trend,” Ms Gates said.

“This was mainly due to an increase in those with an anxiety related condition from 11.1 per cent in 2014-15 to 13.3 per cent in 2017-18, mostly driven by an increase in the number of females with this condition (13.0 per cent in 2014-15 to 16.1 per cent in 2017-18).

The survey showed that although more than half (57.3 per cent) of Victorians aged 15 years and over considered themselves to be in excellent or very good health overall, almost one in eight (12.8 per cent) adults aged 18 and over experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress.

“In good news, Victoria has seen an increase in adults who have never smoked from 54.6 per cent in 2014-15 to 57.4 per cent in 2017-18. This was particularly due to an increase in adults aged 25-34 where the proportion increased from 58.5 per cent to 65.0 per cent and adults aged 35-44 years from 51.5 per cent to 57.0 per cent.

“Levels of physical activity were also positive news with more than half of 18-64 year olds in Victoria (55.0 per cent) undertaking 150 minutes or more of exercise, excluding workplace physical activity. This increased to 64.9 per cent when workplace physical activity was included. This falls in line with the national rate (55.4 per cent and 65.5 per cent respectively).”

Victorian adults are less likely to consume sugar sweetened drinks daily (7.0 per cent) than Australians as a whole (9.1 per cent).

For further information about these and related statistics see publication National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001), available for free download from the ABS website, www.abs.gov.au.

Media note

  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070 (8.30am - 5pm Mon-Fri).
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  • The survey was conducted in all States and Territories and across urban, rural and remote areas of Australia (excluding very remote areas) from July 2017 to June 2018. The survey included around 21,000 people in over 16,000 private dwellings.
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