Queenslanders urged to lighten their load to reduce obesity burden

Scales and measuring tape

Three kilos off the average Queenslander is all it could take to help lighten the state’s burgeoning overweight and obesity crisis, according to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) study.

Research from the AIHW Australian Burden of Disease Study, showed that 14 per cent of the total disease burden could be avoided if the average body mass dropped slightly.

Experts believe that dropping just one BMI point, equal to losing around three kilograms for a person of average height, would be enough to reduce the health impact of obesity.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said maintaining a healthy weight played a vital role in improving long-term health and happiness for all Queenslanders.

“64 per cent of Queensland adults are overweight or obese – losing a few kilos is achievable for the majority of adults through a healthy diet and regular exercise,” Ms McMillan said.

“Overweight and obesity affects both your short and long term health and strongly increases the risk of chronic diseases, and some cancers.

“More than 11 types of cancers are linked to overweight and obesity, including bowel and breast cancer.

“On average, Australian adults are classified as being overweight if their BMI was greater than 25.00 but less than 29.99. Adults were classified as being obese if their BMI was 30.00 or more.”

Ms McMillan said that unhealthy lifestyle choices were contributing to the obesity crisis.

“We know that excess weight is often the result of unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise – excess intake of kilojoules and sugar, including the consumption of sugary drinks, and portion sizes play a role in overweight and obesity in Queensland,” Ms McMillan said.

“To help maintain a healthy weight, it’s important that people consume a diet that is low in sugar, salts, saturated fats and processed meats, and is high in fiber with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s also vital to offset excess kilojoules through regular exercise.

“Along with all of us taking personal responsibility to ensure a healthy diet, community organisations and Governments also have a role to play in reversing these trends.

“Strategies including a sugary drink tax, banning soft drinks in vending machines, particularly in areas associated with children, and restricting soft drink marketing are all actions that would help curb the obesity crisis.

“Unfortunately not enough Queenslanders are offsetting extra kilojoules from unhealthy food and drink choices with adequate exercise either, resulting in overweight and obesity.”
One third of all cancers are preventable through healthy lifestyle changes, including maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking and staying SunSmart.

The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council clinical practice guidelines for management of overweight and obesity lists BMI and waist circumference as the routine measures for identifying overweight and obesity.

When used together, BMI and waist circumference are considered to give better estimates of body fat percentage and to better predict obesity-related health risk.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland, and leading a healthy lifestyle, is available via 13 11 20 or cancerqld.org.au.

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Laura McKoy,
Media Manager,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5345
Mobile: 0409 001 171