4719.0 - Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Australia, 2004-05 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2008  First Issue
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January 25, 2008
Embargoed 11.30 am (AEDT)
More than half of adults are overweight and the numbers are increasing: ABS

More than half (54%) of Australian adults are either overweight or obese, according to new analysis from the 2004-05 National Health Survey released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This has increased from 15 years ago when 38% of adults were regarded as being overweight or obese (in 1989-90).

In 2004-05 the number of Australians aged 18 years and over who were regarded as overweight or obese was 7.4 million, an increase of 2.8 million people over the previous 15 years.

Men were more likely to be overweight or obese than women. In 2004-05, 62% of men were overweight or obese compared with 45% of women. This pattern was also the case in 1989-90, when 45% of men and 32% of women were regarded as overweight or obese.

Increases in the proportion of adults who were overweight or obese occurred in all age groups.

The proportion of the population who are obese (i.e. in the highest overweight category) is increasing at a faster rate than the proportion of the population who are overweight generally. Between 1989-90 and 2004-05, the proportion of men who were obese more than doubled (from 9% to 19%), while the proportion of women who were obese increased from 10% to 17%.

Overweight or obese men and women are increasingly likely to see themselves as having an acceptable weight. On an age standardised basis, the proportion of overweight or obese adults who perceived themselves as having an acceptable weight increased from 37% in 1995, to 41% in 2001, and 44% in 2004-05.

The publication also shows that the proportion of the population who are overweight or obese varies with age, birthplace, income, where people live and other socioeconomic factors.
    Excess body weight contributes to the risk of a range health problems including diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers.

    More details are in Overweight and Obesity in Adults, Australia, 2004-05 (cat. no. 4719.0).

    Media Note: These figures are based on Body Mass Index (BMI) scores, which are calculated from heights and weights reported in the National Health Survey. Age standardised calculations take into account differences in the age structures of different populations and have been used when presenting percentage comparisions over time.