4842.0.55.001 - Overweight and Obesity in Adults in Australia: A Snapshot, 2007–08  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/05/2011  First Issue
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Contents >> Demographic and socio-economic characteristics >> Geographical characteristics

Geographic characteristics

States and Territories

Rates of overweight and obesity did not differ markedly by state or territory in 2007-08. After adjusting for age, the range between states and territories was four percentage points, with Western Australia having the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity (63%) and the ACT having the lowest (59%).


After adjusting for age, Australian adults living outside major cities were more likely to be overweight or obese than those living in major cities. In particular, the obesity rate was significantly higher in outer regional and remote parts of Australia (31%) than in major cities (23%). This was the case for both men and women (Graph 4.2).

4.2 Proportion of people overweight or obese(a)(b), by Remoteness(c)

The greater incidence of overweight and obesity in regional and remote Australia may be due in part to the availability and cost of certain foods, such as fruit and vegetables. Many basic healthy foods are more costly in some rural areas than in metropolitan areas of Australia(footnote 1) , due to transportation and storage costs, which may influence people's food choices. On the other hand, adults living in outer regional and remote parts of Australia may have more opportunities to grow their own fruit and vegetables or access locally grown produce, and they were no less likely to meet the recommended daily fruit and vegetable guidelines.

A higher proportion of adults in outer regional and remote parts of Australia (43%) did no exercise, however, compared with those who lived in major cities (36%). The availability and accessibility to sporting and public transport facilities may encourage more people to participate in recreational physical activity and these facilities are less readily available in rural areas(footnote 2) .

1 Harrison M, Coyne T, Lee A, Leonard D, Lawson S, Groos A, et al. The increasing cost of the basic foods required to promote health in Queensland. Medical Journal of Australia, 2007 186: 9-14. Available from http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/186_01_010107/har10516_fm.html

2 National Rural Health Alliance, January 2011, Fact Sheet 26: Physical Activity in Rural Australia


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