The MyHealthyCommunities website is closing on 30 June 2019

Don’t worry – you can still find the latest information about your local area on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW)External link, opens in a new window.[] website, along with many more reports and data on a range of health and welfare topics.

Visit the Healthy community indicatorsExternal link, opens in a new window.[] page to use the new interactive tool to explore health topics including health risk factors, cancer, expenditure, and different population groups in your Primary Health Network (PHN) area.

In some cases, the way you find information has changed. If you need help finding anything, please contactExternal link, opens in a new window.[] the AIHW.

Once the MyHealthyCommunities website closes, you will be able to access an archived version through TroveExternal link, opens in a new window.[], the National Library of Australia’sExternal link, opens in a new window.[] web archive. Please note the interactive content will not work in the archived version.

Healthy Communities: Overweight and obesity rates across Australia, 2014–15 - Report - Summary

Healthy Communities: Overweight and obesity rates across Australia, 2014–15


This report presents, for the first time, overweight and obesity rates in adults by Primary Health Network (PHN) areas across Australia.

Being overweight or obese can have serious negative health consequences, and the effects of overweight and obesity are a leading health concern in Australia.1 Carrying extra weight can lead to cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke), type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, and some cancers. These conditions cause premature death and substantial disability.1

Overweight and obesity rates in Australia are some of the highest in the world.2 In 2014–15, 11.2 million Australian adults were overweight or obese, equivalent to a national rate of 63.4%.3

National rates of overweight and obesity have increased in recent decades, up from 56.3% in 1995.4 This has been driven by an increase in obese adults, with the percentage of adults who were overweight but not obese remaining similar in that time (Figure 1).

At the local level in 2014–15, the percentage of overweight or obese adults varied across the PHN areas that could be measured, ranging from 53.4% in Northern Sydney to 73.3% in Country SA. Overall, adults in regional PHN areas were more likely to be overweight or obese than their city counterparts.

Obesity by itself showed wider variation across PHN areas, ranging from 16.0% in Central and Eastern Sydney to 38.1% in Country SA. Overall, regional PHN areas also had higher obesity rates than metropolitan PHN areas.

Figure 1: National adult overweight and obesity rates

The following link expands the table data. Show tabular data Hide tabular data
Category Rates (%)
19954 2007–084 2011–125 2014–153
Overweight and obese 56.3% 61.2% 62.8% 63.4%
Overweight but not obese 37.6% 36.7% 35.3% 35.5%
Obese 18.7% 24.6% 27.5% 27.9%

What is a Primary Health Network?

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are organisations that connect health services over local geographic areas. There are 31 PHNs in Australia. See What is a Primary Health Network for more information.

1. NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) 2013. Clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults, adolescents and children in Australia. Melbourne: NHMRC.

2. OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) 2015. Health at a Glance 2015: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD. Viewed 16 August 2016, link, opens in a new window.

3. ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2015. National Health Survey: First results, 2014–2015. ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS. Viewed 20 September 2016, link, opens in a new window.

4. ABS 2009. National Health Survey: Summary of results, 2007–2008 (Reissue). ABS cat no. 4364.0. Canberra: ABS. Viewed 20 September 2016, link, opens in a new window.

5. ABS 2013. Australian Health Survey: Updated results, 2011–2012. ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.003.Canberra: ABS. Viewed 18 September 2016, link, opens in a new window.