Prevalence of overweight and obesity epidemic in Australia: some causes and consequences

Azizur Rahman, Ann Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The growth in overweight and obesity rates is becoming a major public health concern in many developed countries. Obesity as well as overweight is acknowledged to be at epidemic levels worldwide, with Australia being one of the worst affected nations. This paper studies one of the major health related issues the overweight and obesity epidemic in Australia with a particular focus on some demographic, household and social level determinants of it and the consequences. Findings reveal that overweight and obesity is one of the two leading causes of burden of many deadly diseases and mortality in Australia. More than half of the adults are overweight or obese and the epidemic is more common in males than females. Trends in the prevalence of overweight and obesity are dramatically increasing during the last decade. Analyses demonstrate that the rates of overweight and obesity increased with the age up to 64 years and then decreased with their age for both sexes. Prevalence rate increases with increasing level of household income and decreases with higher level of post school education. The rate also varies with jurisdiction of the country. Some of the significant determinants of overweight and obesity are lack of exercise, high calories intake and poor dietary habits, sedentary lifestyles, chronic stress, genetic factors, technological advancements, and living in an increasingly besogenic environment. The overall social and economic costs of overweight and obesity in Australia are huge (more than 58 billion per year), and rapidly increasing over time. Findings also illustrate that there is far reaching social and emotional consequences of it to individuals' life including the discrimination in the job market and in education and social situations, and such discrimination is more common for females and younger aged individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-48
Number of pages18
JournalJP Journal of Biostatistics
Volume10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

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