Proportion of overweight or obese adults in SA rises


Nearly seven in ten (69.7 per cent) adults in South Australia were overweight or obese in 2017-18 including 75.3 per cent of men and 64.6 per cent of women according to new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

ABS Director of Health, Louise Gates said this was an increase of almost four percentage points from 2014-15 when just under two thirds (65.8 per cent) were overweight or obese and this rate of overweight and obesity was higher than the national average of 67.0 per cent.

"South Australians were also more likely to have high blood pressure with more than one in four (25.4 per cent) with this condition compared with 22.8 per cent for Australia as a whole. However, this is mainly a reflection of the older population in South Australia which has a median age of 39 years with 17.6 per cent of people over the age of 65 compared with 37 years and 15 per cent in Australia as a whole. When this is taken into account, the difference no longer remained," Ms Gates said.

"Similarly, the difference in rate of arthritis in South Australia at 17.7 per cent) compared with 15.0 per cent for Australia no longer remained when age was taken into account. However regardless of age, South Australians were still more likely to have had asthma than national rates (13.0 per cent compared with 11.2 per cent)."

South Australia also followed the national trend with more females experiencing anxiety related conditions at 15.2 per cent, up from 11.8 per cent in 2014-15.

"There is some good news though, with fewer South Australians exceeding the single occasion risk alcohol guideline (more than four standard drinks on one occasion): 40.3 per cent in 2017-18 compared with 44.7 per cent in 2014-15.

“Since 1995, the proportion of adults who are daily smokers has decreased from 22.8 per cent to 16.1 per cent in 2011-12 and 13.1 per cent in 2014-15. In 2017-18, this rate remained relatively stable at 12.9 per cent.

“Meanwhile, the proportion of adults who had never smoked has increased from just under half (49.5 per cent) in 2011-12 to 54.4 per cent in 2017-18 with nearly eight in ten (78.9 per cent) of 18-24 year olds having never smoked," Ms Gates said.

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,

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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