Statistics show the typical Australian is obese or overweight

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the National Health Survey 2017-18, revealing that both the average Australian male and female are overweight.

The typical Australian male is 175cm and overweight at 87 kg, while the typical female is 161 cm and overweight at 72 kg.

The report

According to the report, approximately two-thirds (67 per cent) of Australian adults (12.5 million people) are overweight or obese, up from 63.4 per cent in 2014-15.

The ABS found this was because of an increase of adults categorised as obese, up from 27.9 per cent to 31.3 per cent.

Adults considered overweight or obese aged 18-24 also increased from 38.9 per cent in 2014-15 to 46 per cent.

“On average, we were doing 42 minutes of exercise every day, which mostly consisted of walking for transport or walking for exercise [24.6 minutes],” ABS Director of Health Statistics Louise Gates said.

In addition, 44 per cent of us spent most of our work day sitting.”

Other health conditions

The report also found almost half of Australians (47 per cent) have at least one chronic health condition. These included:

  • Mental and behavioural conditions – 20.1 per cent (4.8 million people)
  • Back problems – 16.4 per cent (4 million people)
  • Arthritis – 150 per cent (3.6 million people)
  • Asthma – 11.2 per cent (2.7 million people)
  • Diabetes mellitus – 4.9 per cent (1.2 million people)
  • Heart, stroke and vascular disease – 4.8 per cent (1.2 million people)
  • Osteoporosis – 3.8 per cent (924,000 people)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – 2.5 per cent (598,800 people)
  • Cancer – 1.8 per cent (432,400 people)
  • Kidney disease – 1 per cent (237,800 people).

Mental health issues are also increasing for Australian adults:

  • 4 per cent experienced high levels of psychological distress (an increase from 11.7 per cent in 2014-15)
  • 1 per cent reported a behavioural or mental condition (an increase from 17.5 per cent in 2014-15)
  • 1 per cent had an anxiety-related condition (an increase from 11.2 per cent in 2014-15)
  • 4 per cent had depression, or feelings of depression (an increase from 8.9 per cent in 2014-15).

For more information on the National Health Survey, visit the ABS website.


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