Overweight and obesity

Overweight and obesity increases the risk of chronic diseases including heart attack and stroke and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality (AIHW 2023, 2021). Excess body fat can contribute to the development of biomedical risk factors, including raising levels of blood pressure and abnormal blood lipids, and increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Adults with a body mass index BMI (kg/m2) of 25–29 are considered to be overweight but not obese, while a BMI of 30 or over is classified as obese. A separate classification of overweight and obesity based on age and sex is used for children and adolescents.

In 2022, based on measured BMI from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2022 National Health Survey:

  • one in 4 children and adolescents aged 2–17 (26%) were living with overweight or obesity. This is approximately 1.3 million children and adolescents. The proportion living with overweight or obesity was similar for boys and girls across most age groups, except for the youngest age group, where more girls aged 2–4 (24%) were living with overweight or obesity than boys (14%)
  • 66% of adults aged 18 and over were living with overweight or obesity, with 34% living with overweight but not obesity, and 32% living with obesity
  • men had higher rates of overweight or obesity than women (71% men, 61% women), and higher rates of obesity (33% men, 31% women)
  • obesity was more common among older age groups – 15% of men and 16% of women aged 18–24 years were living with obesity, compared with 41% of men and 37% of women aged 65–74 (AIHW 2024).

After adjusting for different population age structures over time, the proportion of adults aged 18 and over living with overweight or obesity increased from 57% in 1995 to 65% in 2022. Over this time, the proportion living with overweight (but not obesity) declined from 38% to 34% but the proportion of those living with obesity increased, from 19% in 1995 to 31% (Figure 1) (AIHW 2024).

For more information see the report Overweight and obesity.

Figure 1: Proportion of overweight or obesity in children and adolescents aged 5–17, and adults aged 18 and over, 1995 to 2022

Data show that in children and adolescents and adults the prevalence of overweight/ obesity has generally increased from 1995 to 2022.


  1. Age standardised rates use the 2001 Australian population to account for differences in the age structure across population groups.
  2. Age-standardised rates are only for adults aged 18 and over.

Source: Overweight and Obesity (AIHW 2024). For data and footnotes see data tables S4 and S11 in Overweight and obesity.