More than two thirds of Australians now overweight or obese


The proportion of Australians who are overweight or obese continues to climb according to new data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The 2017-18 National Health Survey found that more than two thirds (67 per cent) of Australians aged 18 and over were overweight or obese. This was up from 63 per cent three years ago and 56 per cent in 1995. Slightly more than a third of all Australians were overweight and 31 per cent were obese. About another third were within the healthy weight range and 1.3 per cent were underweight.

ABS Director of Health, Louise Gates, said the increase in the proportion of people who were overweight or obese was driven by the rise in the proportion of the population who were obese, up from 19 per cent in 1995 to 28 per cent in 2014-15 and 31 per cent in 2017-18.

“Men were more likely to be overweight or obese than women with 74.5 per cent men overweight or obese compared with 60 per cent of women," Ms Gates said.

The survey shows that the likelihood of being overweight or obese increases with age. Just under half (46 per cent) of people aged 18-24 were overweight or obese. This quickly rises to 58 per cent for 25-34 year olds and 69 per cent for 35-44 year olds. However, the largest increase in rates of overweight/obesity was for 18-24 year olds from 39 percent in 2014-15.

The survey also found that living in areas of disadvantage was a factor in the number of people who were overweight or obese. Around 70 per cent of Australians living in areas of most disadvantage were overweight or obese compared with 63 per cent in least disadvantaged areas.

Australians living in inner regional and outer regional areas and remote parts of Australia were also more likely to be overweight or obese than those living in major cities (72 per cent compared with 65 per cent).

Further details are in National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001) from the ABS website

    Media notes

    Back to top of the page