Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for good health. Not maintaining a healthy weight—such as being underweight, overweight or obese—is a risk factor for lower life expectancy and the development of chronic health conditions, such as:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • some musculoskeletal conditions
  • some cancers.

Based on measured data, people aged 2 and over with disability are more likely to be overweight or obese (72%) than those without disability (55%) (Figure 1). Rates are similar between those with severe or profound disability and others with disability.

Males aged 2 and over with disability (75%) are more likely than females aged 2 and over with disability (69%) to be overweight or obese (Figure 1). As this is consistent with patterns for the overall population, this likely reflects sex rather than disability status.

Older people (aged 65 and over) with disability (79%) are more likely than younger people (aged under 65) (68%) to be overweight or obese (Figure 1).

Based on measured waist circumference, adults with disability (76%) are more likely than those without (59%) to have an increased or substantially increased risk of developing chronic conditions or dying early (Figure 2).

Women with disability (79%) are more likely than men with disability (73%) to be at increased risk based on waist circumference (Figure 2). As this is consistent with patterns for the overall population, this likely reflects sex rather than disability status.

Older people (aged 65 and over) with disability (85%) are more likely than younger people (aged under 65) with disability (70%) to be at increased risk based on waist circumference (Figure 2).

References

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2019. Microdata: National Health Survey, 2017–18. ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS. Findings based on AIHW analysis of the main unit record file (MURF).