Obese people were much more likely than their normal weight counterparts to have signs of cardiovascular disease, according to a report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.
Dr Paul Jelfs, head of the Social, Health & Labour Division at the ABS, said that the results from the groundbreaking biomedical collection in the Australian Health Survey revealed some concerning facts about the heart health of overweight and obese Australians.
"The results showed that obese adults were nearly five times more likely than normal weight or underweight adults to have high triglycerides (fats in the blood), and more than twice as likely to have lower than normal levels of good cholesterol. These are significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease, " Dr Jelfs said.
"Worryingly, many younger obese adults showed signs of cardiovascular disease. One in every three obese people aged under 45 had high total cholesterol. This was twice the rate for people aged 18–44 years who were of normal weight or underweight.
"Obese people aged 18–44 years were also five times more likely than their normal weight or underweight peers to have high triglycerides.
"Add in smoking and the situation gets worse. More than half of those aged 18–44 year olds who were current daily smokers and obese had high levels of 'bad' cholesterol. This compares with only 16 per cent of normal weight or underweight non-smokers," Dr Jelfs said.
The survey also showed that obesity was a major risk factor for other chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and liver disease. In 2011–12, obese adults were seven times more likely to have diabetes and four times more likely to have signs of liver disease than normal weight or underweight adults.
Further information is available in Australian Health Survey: Biomedical Results for Chronic Diseases (cat. no. 4364.0.55.005) available for free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).
When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.