Obesity in Australia – Big Belly Down Under

With three out of 5 Australian adults registering as obese and another 40% overweight, obesity in Australia is rising. Add to that one in four children, these statistics are frightening and rising!

Australia has fast become the Big Belly Down Under. Yet, 30 years ago those figures were both sitting at 10%.

So, what has led to a staggering 4-fold increase in our expanding waist lines in such a short time?

Back in the 1980s, obesity was seen predominantly as a personal matter. Your weight was a result of the lifestyle choices you made.

Nowadays it is a societal issue. And the way that our society works, recreation and eating patterns have changed. These are directly related to the epidemic of obesity in Australia that now confronts us.

Work and Your Waistline

30 years ago, nearly half of the jobs in the public sector involved at least a moderate amount of physical activity. Today, that figure is les than 20%.

Modern technological advances have led to more of us sitting around doing less more often. And, as a result of that, the average Australian worker burns 142 fewer calories per day than his 1980’s counterpart.

Doesn’t sound like much? That 142 calories amounts to almost an extra 13Kgs per year!

It’s clear, then, that our less active work routines are a contributor to the problem of obesity in Australia.

Recreation and Your Waistline

If we were burning a decent amount of calories during our leisure time, that extra 142 calories a day wouldn’t be so bad.

Unfortunately, we aren’t. In fact, less than 10% of Australians are meeting the recommended leisure-time exercise of 30-minutes per day. Instead too many Aussies are sitting around, hunched over computer screens are sprawled out in front of the TV. As a nation, we simply aren’t active enough.

Eating Habits and Your Waistline


Sensible, healthy eating has fallen victim to the fast paced lifestyle that is the reality of most Australians today. Fast food often fills the void for many of us when we’re in a rush. These foods are usually high in sugar and served up in super sized portions.

And then there are soft drinks. They have often replaced water as people’s beverage of choice. Yet, just one 600 ml soft drink each day can pack on over 11Kgs in a year.

Often TV watching and extra food goes hand in hand, proving a double whammy for your waistline. Snack foods such as potato chips, rich dips and beer are indispensible accompaniments to many people’s TV watching habits.

That’s why the people who watch the most TV are the ones who will struggle with their weight the most. In fact, every hour of TV adds approx 350gr to the average viewers weight.

Obesity in Australia has had a direct correlation to the increased hours of television viewing.

What You Can Do?

The individual choices that each of us make will be the deciding factor in reversing obesity in Australia. Even though there have been millions of words written on the subject, the reality of fat loss is simple. To take control of your body, consume fewer calories.

Cut out processed carbs and increase your intake of fibrous carbohydrates. Reach for fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources such as fish, chicken and eggs.

Drink more water.

Exercise. Take an early evening walk for 30 minutes per day. Add in weight training. Find yourself a reputable personal trainer and start getting your body moving – the way it was designed to move.

Bottom Line

 Obesity in Australia is a nationwide problem with individual solutions. The choices we make every day impact upon every area of our life. They also impact upon our waistline. Make the choice today to turn your body around.


 Obesity in Australia: Action Agenda – www.obesityaustralia.org