Australian adults and children are growing ever-more obese, an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) national health survey has found.
A triennial report sampling 20,000 people shows that almost two-thirds of the adult population can be classified as overweight or obese. This figure is getting worse rather than better.
The research found that seven in 10 Australian men are overweight or obese, while for women this figure is as high as one in two.
According to the report, Australian children are also growing in girth. One in four Aussie kids (27.4 per cent) are overweight or obese, compared with just over 15 per cent in 2011.
The consequences of this growing problem? Despite falling rates of smoking and excessive drinking, Australian health is worsening, with the prevalence of chronic health conditions also growing.
Director of the Healthy Ageing Project at the University of Melbourne, Cassandra Szoeke said the anti-smoking and binge-drinking messages received by Australians are more effective than healthy eating or exercise advice, which varies more person-to-person.
Associate Professor Szoeke explained that, “The top three causes of death in Australia are heart disease, conditions that affect circulation and dementia, and a lot of research has shown that you can halve the rates of these diseases by addressing these risk factors.”
The rates of arthritis, asthma, hayfever, heart disease and osteoporosis have risen or stayed the same since 2001. But it is the rise in the rate of diabetes that’s proving most concerning.
At the start of the millennium one in 30 Australians had diabetes. In 2014, this figure had grown to one in 20. However, more than 200,000 Australians have been diagnosed with the condition in just the last three years.
The ABS report revealed that when it comes to healthy eating, many Australians were falling short of the government’s dietary and exercise recommendations.
Obesity Policy Coalition executive manager Jane Martin said Aussies were not receiving enough in the way of proper dietary education. “There’s still a lot more work that needs to be done promoting the dietary guidelines,” she said.
According to the report, only one in 20 Australians eats enough fruit and vegetables, while just one in three takes enough exercise.
The Australian government’s health guidelines suggest eating 375 grams of vegetables and 300 grams of fruit per day, and taking at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week.
Read more at smh.com.au.
Were you surprised by how many Australians are overweight or obese? Is there enough education about healthy eating in Australia? Do you try to stick to the government’s healthy diet and exercise recommendations?