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About excess body weight

Excess weight, especially obesity, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, some musculoskeletal conditions and some cancers. As the level of excess weight increases, so does the risk of developing these conditions. In addition, being overweight can hamper the ability to control or manage chronic disorders.

Excess body weight is a concern

Rates of overweight and obesity are continuing to rise in Australia. Collecting information on these trends is important for managing the associated health problems.


Body mass index (BMI) is widely used to monitor body weight.

Calculate your BMI (opens in popup window)

Overweight and obesity by the numbers

Based on measured height and weight from the 2011–12 Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Health Survey to calculate BMI:

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Almost 2 in 3

Australian adults (63%) are overweight or obese.

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more adults are overweight or obese than in 1995.

Infographic showing 1 in 4 children are overweight

1 in 4

Australian children (25%) are overweight or obese.

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more people living in outer regional and remote areas are overweight or obese than people living in major cities.

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2nd highest contributor to burden of disease

Overweight and obesity (high BMI) is the second highest contributor to burden of disease, after dietary risks. Smoking is the third highest.