Obesity rates have increased in Townsville faster than any other region in Australia over an eight-year period, a new report has found.
The number of obese and overweight adults rose by 20 per cent in the wider Townsville region between 2007-2008 and 2014-2015 – the highest increase observed in Australia, Progress in Australian Regions* showed.
Meanwhile, the number of obese and overweight adults decreased by more than 22 per cent in the Toowoomba region – the largest and only statistically significant decrease seen across the nation.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said it was concerning to see rates still rising in some areas and reminded people to put their health first ahead of World Cancer Day (February 4).
“Being obese or overweight can have a detrimental impact on your health and is one of the leading contributors to chronic diseases later in life, including some cancers,” Ms McMillan said.
“Between 2014-2015, 64 per cent of adults in the Townsville region weighed in as overweight or obese, compared to 44 per cent in 2007-2008.
“In the Toowoomba region between 2014-2015, 60 per cent of residents were still considered overweight or obese despite the decrease in rates, compared with 82 per cent in 2007-2008.
“Analysis of subregions showed Mackay is the heaviest community in Queensland, with around 83 per cent of adults’ overweight or obese – up from 72 per cent in 2007-2008. Cairns is the healthiest region, with only 51 per cent bulging above average.”
Ms McMillan said up to one third of all cancer cases could be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices, including eating healthy and exercising regularly.
“Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables, and lower your consumption of sugars, processed meats and unhealthy fats to improve your diet,” Ms McMillan said.
“In addition, incorporate more movement into your everyday life – aim for at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise every day to reduce your cancer risk.”
For more about Cancer Council Queensland and healthy living visit cancerqld.org.au or call 13 11 20.
Obese and overweight adults by region as reported in Progress in Australian Regions:
- Queensland: 64.3% of adults are overweight or obese
- Cairns: 51.5% of adults are overweight or obese
- Townsville: 64.6% of adults are overweight or obese (Greater Townsville region is 63.4%)
- Mackay: 83.4% of adults are overweight or obese
- Fitzroy: 73.1% of adults are overweight or obese
- Wide Bay: 70.1% of adults are overweight or obese
- Sunshine Coast: 60.3% of adults are overweight or obese
- Darling Downs: 59% of adults are overweight or obese
- Toowoomba: 63.3% of adults are overweight or obese (Greater Toowoomba region is 60.5%)
- Greater Brisbane: 62.9% of adults are overweight or obese
- Gold Coast: 61.6% of adults are overweight or obese
*Yearbook 2017, Progress in Australian Regions, Australian Government, Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development, and Cities.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Laura McKoy, Media Manager, Cancer Council Queensland: (07) 3634 5345 or 0409 001 171