Sixty-three percent of Australians are overweight, up from 49 percent in 1980, a study published Thursday showed, highlighting the country's growing obesity problem.
Australasia—Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and neighboring islands in the Pacific Ocean—saw the largest absolute increase in adult obesity worldwide over the past 34 years, rising to 29 percent from 16 percent in 1980. It also saw the largest jump in adult female obesity to 30 percent from 17 percent.
People are considered obese when their body mass index—a measurement derived by dividing a person's weight by the square of their height—exceeds 30.
The study, which was conducted by the University of Washington's Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and published in "The Lancet" medicine journal, found over 68 percent of Australian men and 56 percent of women are overweight or obese, the second largest gender gap in overweight/obesity globally.
The study also found that Australian children are at risk; around 24 percent are either obese or overweight, up from 16 percent in 1980.