Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2017) Risk factors to health, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 30 January 2023.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2017). Risk factors to health. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/risk-factors/risk-factors-to-health
Risk factors to health. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 07 August 2017, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/risk-factors/risk-factors-to-health
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Risk factors to health [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017 [cited 2023 Jan. 30]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/risk-factors/risk-factors-to-health
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2017, Risk factors to health, viewed 30 January 2023, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/risk-factors/risk-factors-to-health
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Overweight and obesity refers to excess body weight. Excess weight, especially obesity, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, psychological issues, 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. People who are overweight or obese also have higher rates of death.
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.
You can quickly check whether your weight is in a healthy range by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). It can be used for both men and women, aged 18 or older.
Your BMI is your body weight in kilograms, divided by the square of your height in meters.
For example, if you weigh 75kg and you are 175cm tall (1.75m), your BMI = 75 / (1.75 x 1.75) = 24.5.
To find out your BMI, enter your enter your details into the AIHW BMI calculator.
Your BMI will fall into one of four categories
Source: World Health Organization (WHO) 2000. Obesity: preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO consultation. WHO technical report series 894. Geneva: WHO.
BMI does not necessarily reflect body fat distribution or describe the same degree of fatness in different individuals. At a population level however, BMI is a practical and useful measure for identifying overweight and obesity.
An alternative way to assess your risk of developing obesity-related chronic diseases is to measure your waist circumference. A higher waist measurement is associated with an increased risk of chronic disease. The risk levels presented below are for Caucasian men; and both Caucasian and Asian women.
Source: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 2013. Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Canberra: NHMRC.
For information on how to correctly measure your waist, visit the National Heart Foundation website.
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.
Information on the BMI cut-offs for children is available on the Department of Health website.
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