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

  • 3% of individuals of adult-age (over 18 years or over) are considered to be either overweight, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of25.00-29.99) or obese, with a BMI of over 30.
  • Just over 1/3 of Australians, 36% to be precise, fall within the normal weight-range of a Body Mass Index of 18.50-24.99
  • About 1 in 50 individuals are considered to be underweight with a BMI under 18.5

These figures are general in their nature and do not take into account specific demographics, some of which have significantly higher percentages of individuals considered to be of an unhealthy weight.

The National Health and Medical Research Council states that in this century, obesity is one of the greatest threats to human health. Epidemic is the term that many are using to describe the sheer volume of individuals who are overweight in Australia today.

Obesity is a serious health condition

Obesity is a disease, and it is no secret that it poses significant health risks to those considered to be suffering from it. The impacts on the body and one’s overall health are both visible and invisible. Visibly, an overweight individual may experience pain in their joints, difficulty breathing or even problems with their mobility.

However, what many do not see is their affected health internally. Obesity causes tremendous strain on the heart and the cardio-vascular system, the liver, the digestive system and can even impact on one’s mental health.

Losing weight can therefore have a positive impact on all these areas of one’s life.

Being classified as ‘obese’ does not refer to an extra bit of body weight. Obesity is a condition that can lead to life-threatening illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, joint discomfort and sleep apnoea. Some cancers can also be caused by obesity**.

Research has indicated that obese individuals, with a BMI between 30-35, may live two to four years less than the average for a healthy person of similar makeup. Those with a BMI over 40 risk shortening their life by almost a decade – a risk that is comparable to those faced by a lifetime of smoking.

Obesity is easily measured

Obesity is an excess of total body fat. This occurs when the volume of calorie intake (the food and beverages you consume) is greater than the amount of energy expended. A measurement used to assess health risks of obesity is called the Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is a simple calculation that takes into account your height and weight.

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

To learn more about obesity and how it can impact you, we invite you to 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.