Australia’s obesity problem is so bad that people don’t even know they’re overweight. According to The Shape of Australia research from the Heart Foundation and Cancer Council Victoria Live Lighter project, only one in four obese people believe they have a weight problem.
The survey of 2000 Australians aged between 25 and 49 revealed that two in three obese respondents thought were just overweight, while one in 10 thought their weight was normal.
Half of the people surveyed who were overweight thought they were of average weight.
This self-denial is causing huge headaches for health professionals, who say they can’t help to treat the problem if people don’t accept that they have one.
“You look around you and you see other people of higher weight and you think you look average,” said Live Lighter campaign manager and dietitian Alison McAleese.
“If you don’t realise you are above a healthy weight you are unlikely to be motivated to make a change.”
Ms McAleese says even small diet and exercise changes can make a difference, such as cutting back on chocolate, alcohol, ice cream and other obvious fatty foods and foods high in sugar. Also, swapping unhealthy snacks for healthier munchies, such as chopped celery, carrot and other veggies, and exercising more.
Another disturbing revelation was that just one in five people get the required 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. One in seven did not exercise at all. Interestingly, people aged between 45 and 49 were more likely to be getting enough exercise.
Obesity is so common in Australian that we are now one of the fattest nations in the world, with rates that have more than doubled in the past 30 years. It is estimated that, by 2025, 70 per cent of Australia’s population will be obese or overweight, making it one of the most concerning health issues of the future.
Calculate your weight at www.livelighter.com.au
Are you overweight? Do you think that obesity is the new normal?