Over 60% of Australian adults are either overweight or obese.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics* (ABS) reports that:

  • 61.3% of people aged 18 years or over are either overweight (BMI 25.00-29.99) or obese (BMI 30+).
  • Only 36% of Australians are considered of ‘normal’ weight (BMI 18.50-24.99) and 2% of people are actually underweight (BMI 18.5 and under).
  • The figures are even higher for some ethnic and age groups.

According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, one of the greatest threats to health in the 21st century is obesity.  In Australia the number of people who are overweight or obesity has reached epidemic proportions.

Obesity is a serious health condition

Obesity is a serious health condition and losing weight can greatly improve your general health, your quality of life and your sense of wellbeing.  It can also help to prevent or moderate many harmful diseases.

Being classified as obese is not about carrying a bit of extra body weight.  Obesity can lead to life threatening illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint problems, obstructive sleep apnoea and some cancers.

Researchers have shown that obese people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30-35 may live two to four years less than average.  Those people with a BMI of 40-45 may reduce their life expectancy by eight to ten years, which is comparable to the health risks of smoking.

Obesity is easily measured

Obesity is an excess of total body fat, which results from caloric intake that exceeds energy usage.  A measurement used to assess health risks of obesity is Body Mass Index (BMI).

Click here to find out more about BMI and to measure your own BMI.

To find out more information about obesity click on the links below:


  1. * Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Health Survey Summary of Results 2007 – 08, Cat Number 4364.0, Australian Government, Canberra, 2009.
  2. ∆ NHMRC, Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Government, Canberra, 2033
  3. † Prospective Studies Collaboration, Body Mass Index and cause mortality in 900,000 adults: collaborative analysis of 57 Prospective Studies, The Lancet, 2009; 373:1083-96.