Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2019) The health of Australia’s males, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 10 February 2023.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2019). The health of Australia’s males. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/men-women/male-health
The health of Australia’s males. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 10 December 2019, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/men-women/male-health
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The health of Australia’s males [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019 [cited 2023 Feb. 10]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/men-women/male-health
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019, The health of Australia’s males, viewed 10 February 2023, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/men-women/male-health
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Excess body weight, known as overweight and obesity, is a risk factor for many conditions, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnoea and osteoarthritis. Overweight and obesity is among the leading causes of death and disability in Australia (AIHW 2019b).
One way of measuring excess body weight at the population level is to use the body mass index (BMI)—an internationally recognised standard for classifying overweight and obesity in adults. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres. Differences in body composition may affect the appropriateness of BMI and different BMI cut-off points may need to be considered for certain population groups such as:
Height and body composition are continually changing for children and adolescents. A separate classification of overweight and obesity for children is used based on age and sex (Cole et al. 2000). Information in this section relates to measures of overweight and obesity as estimated using BMI.
Australian men are overweight or obese
According to 2017–18 data (ABS 2018):
Overweight and obesity is more common in older age groups, around 4 in 5 men aged 55–64 were overweight or obese (84%), compared with 1 in 2 men aged 18–24 (52%) (ABS 2019c).
The proportion of men who were overweight or obese varied for some population groups. After adjusting for age (ABS 2013, ABS 2019c):
The proportion of males who were overweight or obese in 2017–18 differed between men and boys (ABS 2019c):
Overweight and obesity among boys aged 2–17 varied for some population groups (ABS 2019c):
Note: Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding
Chart: AIHW. Source: ABS 2018 (see Table S5 and Table S6 for footnotes).
For more information see Overweight and obesity.
Waist circumference is another common measure of overweight and obesity. For men, a waist circumference above 94 cm is associated with an increased risk of metabolic complications and a waist circumference above 102cm is associated with substantially increased metabolic risk (WHO 2011).
Australian men have a waist circumference associated with increased or substantially increased metabolic risk
According to 2017–18 data, 3 in 5 (60%) Australian men have a high-risk waist circumference— that is, one associated with an increased or substantially increased risk of metabolic complications (Figure 8). The average waist circumference for men aged 18 in over in 2017–18 was 98cm (ABS 2018).
High-risk waist circumference was more common in older men (ABS 2019a):
The prevalence of high-risk waist circumference varied for some population groups. After adjusting for age (ABS 2019a):
Note: Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
Chart: AIHW. Source: ABS 2019a (see Table S7 for footnotes).
While excess weight is commonly managed using dietary intervention and exercise, for those who are morbidly obese or who are obese and have other conditions related to their excess weight, weight loss surgery may be appropriate.
Weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery) aims to help obese patients lose weight and lower the risk of medical problems associated with obesity. It restricts the amount of food a recipient can eat or alters the process of food digestion so fewer calories are absorbed.
In 2017–18, males accounted for 20% of procedures for weight loss surgery (7,900 procedures). The rate of weight loss surgeries among males for the same year was 64 per 100,000, an increase from 2015–16 with 6,000 procedures and a rate of 50 per 100,000 (AIHW 2019a).
For more information see Weight loss surgery in Australia 2014–15.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2013. National Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey 2012–13: First results. Cat. 4727.0.55.001
ABS 2017. Personal Safety, Australia, 2016. ABS cat. no. 4906.0. Canberra: ABS
ABS 2018. National Health Survey: First results 2017–18. ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS.
ABS 2019a. Microdata: National Health Survey, 2017–18, detailed microdata, DataLab. ABS cat no. 4324.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS. Findings based on AIHW analysis of ABS microdata.
ABS 2019b. National Health Survey: Users’ Guide, 2017–18. ABS cat.no. 4363.0. Canberra: ABS.
ABS 2019c. National Health Survey, 2017–18. Customised report. Canberra: ABS.
AIHW 2017a. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance framework 2017: supplementary online tables. Cat. no. WEB 170. Canberra: AIHW.
AIHW 2017b. National Drug Strategy and Household Survey 2016: Key findings online data tables. Canberra: AIHW.
AIHW 2019a. Procedures and healthcare interventions (ACHI 10th edition), Australia, 2017–18. Cat. no. WEB 216. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed July 18 2019, <https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/hospitals/procedures-data-cubes/contents/data-cubes>
AIHW 2019b. Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015. Australian Burden of Disease series no.19. Cat. no. BOD 22. Canberra: AIHW.
Department of Health 2019. Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines and the Australian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines. Canberra: Department of Health.
Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM & Dietz WH 2000. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey. BMJ 320:1240–3.
NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) 2013. Clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults, adolescents and children in Australia. Canberra: NHMRC.
Pederson BK and Saltin B 2015. Exercise as medicine - evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in 26 different chronic diseases. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 25(Suppl 3):1-72.
Safe Work Australia 2018a. Work-related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia 2017. Safe Work Australia: Canberra.
Safe Work Australia 2018b. Australian Workers’ Compensation Statistics 2016–17. Safe Work Australia: Canberra.
WHO (World Health Organization) 2011. Waist circumference and waist-hip ration: report of a WHO expert consultation. Geneva, 8–11 December 2008.
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