Prevalence of Obesity in Australia

Australia has one of the highest prevalence of overweight and obesity among developed countries. In 2008, 3.71 million Australians (17.5%) were estimated to be obese. Of these, an estimated 275,000 Australian adults were morbidly obese with a BMI of 40 or more.

Prevalence projections

The proportion of obese adults has doubled over 15 years (between 1989-90 and 2004-05) and this prevalence has been estimated to continue to increase to:

  • 4.7 Million by 2028 - with no further change in age-gender prevalence rates, such that all further increases are due to demographic ageing alone (baseline scenario)
  • 7.5 Million by 2028 - at rates experienced since 1980 (i.e. an annual increase of 0.56% for males and 0.64% for females), it would result in growth from 3.8 million obese people in 2008 to 6.9 million in 2025 (high scenario) (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Prevalence projections


Source: Access Economics, 2008.