It seems money can’t buy you love, happiness or a smaller waistline.
A new report released today has found alarming numbers of overweight and obese people not only in lower socio-economic areas but in Sydney’s more affluent suburbs including in Northern Sydney where more than half of adults tipped the scales at the heavy end.
Released today, the National Health Performance Authority’s Healthy Communities report presents, for the first time, overweight and obesity rates at the local level across Australia.
It found that wealthiest inner-city suburbs are not immune to weight problems with five in 10 adults overweight and obese compared to six in 10 in lower income communities.
Australia’s fattest area is western NSW, where 79 per cent of people are overweight or obese.
In the greater Sydney region, the most overweight and obese people are in South West Sydney at 62 per cent and Western Sydney at 60 per cent .
Close behind is the higher socio-economic area of Northern Sydney, which includes people living in Ryde, Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai and Hunters Hills local government areas, where 57 per cent of people were classified as overweight or obese.
The Inner West came in at 56 per cent.
The Performance Authority’s CEO Dr Diane Watson said rates of adult obesity have been rising very rapidly over time.
“The health and economic impact of obesity and smoking can be extremely serious,” she said.
While the report found that the percentage of adults who were overweight or obese increased with geographic remoteness and lower socioeconomic status, still half of adults (54 per cent) in the wealthiest urban areas were overweight or obese, and two in 10 (19 per cent) were obese.
Northern Sydney Medicare Local’s acting CEO Dr James Baker said the number of people classified as overweight and obese in the northern Sydney area had reached alarming levels.
“The continued rise in overweight and obese rates is a growing problem and can lead to an increased risk in the development of preventable chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers,” he said.
“Choosing to eat well and exercise are some of the simple ways that most people can incorporate into their lifestyle to reduce their weight and reduce their risk of developing preventable disease.”
The report divides the country according to the Medicare local areas established in 2011 to promote community-level health management.
Nepean-Blue Mountains: 29 per cent (Obesity), 35 per cent (Overweight)
South Western Sydney: 29 per cent (Obesity), 33 per cent (Overweight)
Western Sydney: 27 per cent (Obesity), 33 per cent (Overweight)
Inner West Sydney: 21 per cent (Obesity), 35 per cent (Overweight)
Northern Sydney: 20 per cent (Obesity), 37 per cent (Overweight)
South Eastern Sydney: 28 per cent (Obesity), 28 per cent (Overweight)
Sydney North Shore & Beaches: 14 per cent (Obesity), 36 per cent (Overweight)
Consenting participants were measured according to weight and height. Body Mass Index (BMI) scores were calculated as weight (kg) divided by height squared (m)2. Participants with a BMI
greater than or equal to 25 and less than 30 were classified as overweight. Those with a BMI greater than or equal to 30 were classified as obese.