THE average Australian man now weighs 85.9kg – 6.5kg heavier than he was in 1989 -according to new National Heart Foundation of Australia analysis on the severity of the nation’s weight problem.
A breakdown of Heart Foundation national health surveys from 1980, 1983 and 1990, as well as government data from 1995, 2008 and 2012, shows the average woman has also gained 5.7kg in the past 25 years and now tips the scales at 71.1kg.
The Heart Foundation’s National Director of Cardiovascular Health Dr Robert Grenfell, said it means two thirds of Australians now fall outside the healthy weight range.
“To return to a healthy weight range an average man would need to lose 8.9kg and woman would need to lose 5.7kg,” Dr Grenfell said.
“The combined weight loss required is just short of 120 million kilograms across the nation.
“We’re calling on all Australians to have a good look in the mirror this Healthy Weight Week and ask themselves whether their weight is putting their health in danger.”
The analysis highlights the average Body Mass Index (BMI) for men is up from 25.3 to 27.9 since 1989 and the average for women is up from 24.3 to 27.2.
“It’s scary that two in three Australians are now above the healthy weight range, making overweight and obese weight ranges more ‘normal’ than healthy”, he said.
“The easiest way of working out if your weight is healthy is to calculate your BMI, which takes into account your height and weight.
“The healthiest BMI is relatively lean, at around 22.5-24.9 which is equivalent to a weight of 70-77kg for an Australian man of average height and 59-65kg for an Australian woman of average height,” said Dr Grenfell.
In comparison to 1980, the proportion of obese adult Australians has tripled, while the number of people in the healthy weight range has almost halved.
This wake-up call comes after new research last week dispelled the myth that overweight people live longer.
Carrying too much body fat puts people at risk of cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of Australian men and women, as well as diabetes, some cancers and numerous other health problems.
For more on Healthy Weight Week visit: www.healthyweightweek.com.au and estimate your BMI with the Heart Foundation BMI Calculator.
Source: Heart Foundation Australia