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
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
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, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/health_glance-2015-enExternal 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, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4364.0.55.001External 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, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mf/4364.0External 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, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4364.0.55.003External link, opens in a new window.