What is happening over time?

Use the interactive graphs to explore how the prevalence of overweight and obesity has changed over time.

Children and adolescents

The prevalence of overweight and obesity among Australian children and adolescents aged 5–17 has increased over time—from 21% in 1995, to 25% in 2007–08, then remaining relatively stable at 26% in 2011–12 and 27% in 2014–15. The prevalence of obesity alone increased over time from 5% in 1995, to 8% in 2007–08 then remained stable at 7% in 2011–12 and 2014–15.

Adults

Among Australians aged 18 and over, the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased over time from 57% in 1995, to 61% in 2007–08, then remained relatively stable at 63% in 2011–12 and 2014–15. The prevalence of obesity alone increased over time from 19% in 1995, to 24% in 2007–08, 27% in 2011–12 and 28% in 2014–15.

Birth cohort

The prevalence of overweight and obesity differs by birth cohort. A birth cohort can be defined as a group of people born in the same year or years.

At ages 10–13 and 14–17, children and adolescents born most recently were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese than those born 20 years earlier. At age 10–13, 31% of children and adolescents born from 2002–2005 were overweight or obese compared with 24% of those born from 1982–1985. At age 14–17, 30% of adolescents born from 1998–2001 were overweight or obese compared with 19% of adolescents born from 1978–1981. There were no statistically significant differences for overweight and obesity at ages 2–5 and 6–9.

At all but 1 of the age groups assessed in a recent report by the AIHW, adults born most recently were significantly more likely to be obese than those born 20 years earlier. The largest relative difference across cohorts was at age 18–21; 15% of those born from 1994–1997 were obese at age 18–21, almost double the proportion of those born from 1974–1977 (8%) at the same age.

For more information, see A picture of overweight and obesity in Australia and Overweight and obesity in Australia: a birth cohort analysis.

References

AIHW 2017. Overweight and obesity in Australia: a birth cohort analysis. AIHW cat. no. PHE 215. Canberra: AIHW.

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2009. National Health Survey: summary of results, 2007–08 (reissue).  ABS cat. no. 4364.0. Canberra: ABS.

ABS 2013. Australian Health Survey: updated results, 2011–12. ABS cat no. 4364.0.55.003. Canberra: ABS.

ABS 2015. National Health Survey: first results, 2014–15. ABS cat no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS.