About a third of our health suffering is self-induced; it’s what we eat, drink, smoke and how we exercise. The Australian Health Survey from the Bureau of Statistics reveals a new gap which few have noted; the bush health gap.

We learn our bad habits early… Illustration: Eric Lobbecke

Outer regional and remote Australians are 50% more likely to smoke, 28% more likely to drink dangerously and 20% more likely to binge. Thankfully, today’s ABS data shows that nationwide, smoking and drinking rates falling but the news isn’t so good on obesity.

Since the last health survey in 2007, Australia’s overweight and obesity rate climbed from 61% to over 63%. That represents each and every year, an additional 110,000 overweight Australians for our health system to manage. What is more disturbing how much worse the situation is in the bush. Urban obesity rates are 25% compared to 35% in remote areas. Add the overweight to bush obesity numbers and total ticks over 70%.

This bush health gap has a range of causes. A high proportion of remote Australians are Indigenous, so their diabolical health status contributes to a lower average. On top of that, both incomes and access to health and fitness services are lower in the bush.

The ABS spells this out with a state by state breakdown, no more extreme than the health difference between the urban high-income ACT and the Northern Territory. Smoking rates are 14.7% compared to 24.4% in the top end. Over 41% of ACT residents are physically active, compared to just 34.3% in the Territory.

If our personal choices are responsible for a third of our life-years lost, then it is a fair bet that a similar proportion of our $130 billion annual health budget is spent fighting the results.

The uncomfortable truth is that the cost of smoking, heavy drinking, obesity and inactivity all add up. But the overall health and welfare costs per obese Australian has never been estimated, until now.

Australia’s new Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA) has strived to measure the cost of a single obese Aussie. Hypothetically named ‘William,’ his parents gave him sugary drinks and sweet snack rewards as a child and didn’t emphasise physical activity. He was overweight by the age eight and obese by fifteen.

William falls into a pretty nasty category, with his risk of diabetes quadrupled and heart failure doubled. Worse, 5% of all cancers are linked to his obesity. Sure enough, by his mid-thirties, his doctor has him on blood pressure and cholesterol medications. By the end of that decade, he has acquired diabetes which can’t be managed without medication.

Williams opts for gastric banding surgery in his thirties, but has little choice about the joint replacement or two he needs to remain mobile in his fifties. After a decade of regular emergency presentations and occasional admissions, he dies in his late sixties.

Because we only ever see our health through a rear view mirror, the health demise of a hypothetical citizen makes for chilling reading. That’s because a combination of discounting and moral hazard means we all subconsciously delay investments in our own health, because in the end, the bills are mostly picked up by others.

William’s rocky road adds up to over $75,000 in lifetime health expenses almost entirely paid for by others. If William was the only obese person in his suburb, then it might be ok. But in the bush he is fast becoming the norm, with just three in ten remote Australian adults not being overweight or obese.

Sure not every overweight adult will be a health burden. Some will live a long and happy life while others may succumb young, quickly and without troubling the health system. But the statistical reality of obesity can’t be ignored. It costs us a fortune and a simple focus on more health workers in the bush treats the symptoms as much as it does the cause.

In addition to every health dollar spent on obesity, another eight dollars are paid out in welfare. If we model William leaving the workforce with his first joint replacement, there will be disability payments and an associated carers’ payment for a family member. Include Colagiuri’s range of other direct non-health costs and costs exceed half a million dollars.

On top of this, Diabetes Australia has begun to quantify the costs of declining productivity and obesity-related absenteeism to employers.

Thanks to Australia’s universal health and welfare, we rarely feel the direct costs of health care provision. In remote Australia, where obesity and overweight continues to scale new heights, the limited access and high cost of health services will make this battle the hardest of all to win.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

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    • Fiddler says:

      09:31am | 31/10/12

      simple, we stop providing free health care to self inflicted diseases. I exclude smoking because the taxes raised from it more than cover it, but if you are an alcoholic with medical conditions you have the choice, either rehab/stop drinking or get no assistance with the myriad of health concerns you get.

      Ridiculously overweight? No knee reconstruction for you until you’ve lost the flab unless you really are (with medical proof) one of the few percent who have a medical issue causing it. I see every day people who are so sick due to their own lifestyle choices that if you saw an animal like that you’d put it out of their misery.

    • Steve says:

      10:05am | 31/10/12

      I would like to see everyone have their first heart attack and follow up care for free, and the rest - stents, etc is then on the patient - unless they lose the weight.

    • DragonLass says:

      11:13am | 31/10/12

      By that logic, anyone who suffers from a sporting injury should also get no assistance, since they chose to play sport in the first place.

    • Keith Hammersmith says:

      11:40am | 31/10/12

      @ dragonlass,  spoken like a true inactive obese person.  If you think sporting injuries put a dent in the amount spent on obesity you are living in a mythical world, say hello to the fairies and goblins please.

    • Economist says:

      12:00pm | 31/10/12

      I think you miss Dragonlass’ point. That if start limiting what healthcare you can receive, soon we’ll be blaming people genes.

    • stevem says:

      12:10pm | 31/10/12

      I’m sure the “sin” taxes paid on alcohol over the years would cover the costs of medical treatment for the drinkers. Clearly sporting injuries, as dragonlass points out, must be covered by the patient as they haven’t paid the same level of extra taxes as smoker and drinkers. Of course obstetrics charges must always the responsibility of the patient.

    • DocBud says:

      12:21pm | 31/10/12

      “spoken like a true inactive obese person”

      No, Keith, spoken like someone who understands that once such calculations as those proposed are used, it is only fair and logical to apply them across the board. One would have to risk assess every person’s life to see what their relative risk is, factors such as walking and crossing busy roads, distance driven in a year, frequency of car accidents, type of car driven, swimming in the sea, eating fish with bones, the list is endless. Furthermore, if a person is to be denied healthcare, then it is only fair to return that proportion of their taxes that would have gone to health care so that they can put it towards their private health care.

    • Phillb says:

      12:38pm | 31/10/12

      Well Keith Hammersmith, I am inactive obese person although I used to be a active obese sportsperson and i can tell you personally I spent more time in medical care through sport then anything to do with my weight.  Touch wood I have never had a health related medical need despite being around 30kg over my “ideal” weight for all of my adult life.
      And I agree, if we are going to charge per use/fault on the medical system it should include sport people, it si only fair.
      As well as those that work outside risking exposure to UV and those that work in mines,
      Those that are at fault in car accidents shouldn’t be covered off course or should have to pay more.  How much warnign about speeding to do we have to give?

    • Fiddler says:

      12:55pm | 31/10/12

      way to oversensationalise what I am saying. If you have a disease which is treatable through a change of lifestyle and you refuse to do so despite medical advice then no the taxpayer should not continue to pay for your treatments.

      @Phil, if you are carrying around a lot of extra heft then some sports will increase your chance of injury, I don’t know your particulars, but I have never seen anyone injure themselves on an exercise bike. PS ideal weights are a crock, as is BMI, the only one that matters is bodyfat percentage.

    • Keith Hammersmith says:

      01:09pm | 31/10/12

      As I stated however, the amount spent on sporting injuries to treat the physically active PALES in comparison to the amount spent on obesity related health issues. You are kidding yourself if you think it is even in the same ball park.
      For every knee recon for an athlete how many do we see for the obese - along with life long diabetes…..  etc etc.

      What you do need to understand is, being active, with minor injuries, will in fact SAVE the country millions in health care.

    • John L says:

      01:37pm | 31/10/12

      Just curious: do you consider depression self-inflicted? Or does it come under the umbrella term “sack up, princess”?

      Quite a lot of obesity problems have deeper issues, ones that are either socially unpopular or just terrifying for those involved. Maybe treating the cause and not the symptom might be a good idea. Just a thought

    • Fiddler says:

      02:09pm | 31/10/12

      @John L, it can be or it can be due to external or medical factors over which the sufferer has no control.

      Having said that eating because you are depressed and being depressed because you are fat, yes a person does need to develop a certain amount of mental resilience to get themselves out of it

    • Phillb says:

      02:32pm | 31/10/12

      Fiddler says:12:55pm | 31/10/12 - way to oversensationalise what I am saying. If you have a disease which is treatable through a change of lifestyle and you refuse to do so despite medical advice then no the taxpayer should not continue to pay for your treatments.
      If you lead a risky lifestyle through speeding and have multiple fines over the years, should you be covered in case of accident?  Or liable of you injure someone else?
      Where do you draw the line on self caused not being covered?

      And pretty confident my weight did not play a part in hyperextending my knee and blowing the ACL (that was the pot holes fault), cracking my ribs, dislocating my shoulder, breaking my hand, tearing my knee open on an exposed sprinkler head or any of the other injuries sustained through my sporting time.

    • DocBud says:

      02:59pm | 31/10/12

      It is not so long ago that stomach ulcers were considered to be primarily caused by lifestyle factors. Medical science in relation to lifestyle factors is not as clear cut as we are often led to believe and often falls into the category of preconceived science, I.e. we know the conclusion so let’s find the data which support our conclusion.

      If you really want to live long and healthy, choose your parents carefully. Which raises the question, should the taxpayer fund the offspring of those who insist on having children despite a strong family history of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc? (My answer is yes but it would save the taxpayer billions if these children were not born so why not apply the same logic.

    • Philosopher says:

      03:00pm | 31/10/12

      What is the standardised cutoff between ‘Ridiculously overweight’ and ‘pleasantly curvaceous’ or ‘cuddly’ or ‘big-boned’? And where would Nigella Lawson fit on this index?

    • Fiddler says:

      03:16pm | 31/10/12

      @Philospher, I’m sure I can fit her in my bed wink

    • Steve says:

      09:33am | 31/10/12

      $75,000 in direct health costs across William’s lifetime sounds a bit low.  If only there was some way to make William bear some of these costs.

      But there is not a way to do so because the public health system avoids patient accountability like the plague.

    • martinX says:

      11:44am | 31/10/12

      I agree - it sounds way too low.

    • Bill says:

      09:33am | 31/10/12

      You should see the state of people living in Benalla…

    • Rose says:

      09:51am | 31/10/12

      Congratulations on writing a piece which highlights a seriously concerning health issue without turning it into a partisan rant. If only all politicians, on all sides, could do this more often rather than turning everything into an exercise in immature point scoring, particularly as we know that most issues like this would be exactly the same regardless of who is in power.

    • V:::V says:

      09:56am | 31/10/12

      Outer regional and remote Australians are 90% more likely to be right wing conservative crank cases.

    • HappyG says:

      11:51am | 31/10/12

      Outer regional and remote Australians are 90% more likely to be right wing conservative crank cases.

      Let them eat cake. Be a love and pass the mung beans.

      Green voter here people.

    • Ridge says:

      09:58am | 31/10/12

      Obesity is caused by eating too damn much.  So why do people eat so much?  Weakness, gluttony, no discipline?  Or is it the fact that nobody has a realistic sense of appropriate body size any more?

      Fat people should be shamed into losing weight.  Or better still, not getting fat in the first place.  It works in other cultures.

      I can just imagine the fatties rolling (heh) out of the woodwork to protest against articles like this, claiming they’re healthy despite their size.  No matter how much you’re fooling yourself, you are unhealthy physically and emotionally.

    • Fiddler says:

      10:14am | 31/10/12

      I enjoy ripping on fat people as it is the last socially acceptable hate for me, being a white caucasian male (except hating hipsters of course)

      It comes down to diet (duh) but they aren’t so much to blame. I remember being brought up and all the health ads told people to eat more pasta rice etc and now we have a starch based diet which is very calorie dense. Go Paleo to some extent and get active. I can’t stand seeing fat people getting around on those gopher carts, unless they have an injury that physically prevents them from walking.

    • Ridge says:

      11:33am | 31/10/12

      From your link: “It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer”

      So even though we didn’t mention anything about cost, we’re ignorant?  Because we prescribe healthier lifestyles which make you happier and live longer.

      What am I to assume from your message, that this is a bad thing?

    • Fiddler says:

      11:37am | 31/10/12

      numbers not relevant as they are from a completely different healthcare system to what we have here. I did already mention smoking in an earlier post so settle down.

    • DocBud says:

      12:01pm | 31/10/12

      Judging other people makes you ignorant, Ridge. You worry about your life and let others worry about theirs.

    • Stuart Germon says:

      12:07pm | 31/10/12

      Fiddler what about the cost of having to look at fat parents bring up fat kids. I feel nothing but contempt for those parents and pity for those kids. Forget the physical damage done and imagine the mental and emotional problems these kids are going to have for their lives because their parents who probably suffer the same inflict it anyway.

      But maybe with the way we’re going with healthy people already in the minority, fat people will stop feeling shame soon and just think of themselves as normal.

      But hey your flood and drought resistant..

    • Fiddler says:

      12:42pm | 31/10/12

      Stuart, but they aren’t zombie apocalypse resistant…. hang on, they will be the slow moving food that will allow me to escape,

    • Fiddler says:

      12:56pm | 31/10/12

      Stuart, I think they also need to calculate the lost time being stuck behind several slow walking fatties who are oblivious to the world around (and faster walking others behind)

    • egg says:

      01:09pm | 31/10/12

      @Ridge, try educating yourself before asking stupid questions like “So why do people eat so much?”. There are well documented studies showing that biologically, we are prone to respond more to fatty/sugary foods, as this was a huge source of energy for us when we used to be hunter/gatherers.

      Our brains have evolved to tell us that we need more food, all the time. We live in a plentiful society, which means this trigger is no longer needed, but our brains don’t know that.

      Ignorant people should be shamed into learning.

      @Fiddler, “the last socially acceptable hate for me, being a white caucasian male” oh no, dear, you can hate whoever you like. But whether you’re ripping on fat people, hipsters, or anyone else, don’t expect them to just sit back and look ashamed - there appear to be plenty of reasons to hate you, too. smile

    • Ridge says:

      01:49pm | 31/10/12

      @Ridge, try educating yourself before asking stupid questions like “So why do people eat so much?”. There are well documented studies showing that biologically, we are prone to respond more to fatty/sugary foods, as this was a huge source of energy for us when we used to be hunter/gatherers.

      It was a rhetorical question for fat people to ask themselves.  The answer is so obvious it pains me to repeat, so please re-read my previous posts.  Not once did I mention fatty/sugary foods, so I don’t know why you’re bringing that up.  But regardless, that’s an irrelevant point anyway.

      ##Our brains have evolved to tell us that we need more food, all the time. We live in a plentiful society, which means this trigger is no longer needed, but our brains don’t know that.

      Humans are a little more complex than just simple instinctive drives such as ‘eat’.  However, when I look at people who really can’t figure out something as simple as how much to eat, I actually begin to question that.

      ##Ignorant people should be shamed into learning.

      I’m trying to educate you, at least help me out.

      ##@Fiddler, “the last socially acceptable hate for me, being a white caucasian male” oh no, dear, you can hate whoever you like. But whether you’re ripping on fat people, hipsters, or anyone else, don’t expect them to just sit back and look ashamed - there appear to be plenty of reasons to hate you, too. 

      So instead of argue the point logically, your bruised ego just wants to lash out and attack us?

    • Fiddler says:

      01:54pm | 31/10/12

      facepalm @eggs comment.

      It’s called sarcasm, this is the internet, there is some of it around

    • Philosopher says:

      02:36pm | 31/10/12

      ‘Go Paleo to some extent’
      OK Fiddler. Before I go Paleo, what is the Paleo diet again? You mean, eat the flesh of conservative bogan rednecks? Or does it mean eat more vegies and meat, in which case, why not just say ‘eat more vegies and meat’? You sound smarter if you avoid couching your insight using terms from some sort of hipster trend.

    • Fiddler says:

      03:05pm | 31/10/12

      @philospher, I am not conerned with attempting to sound more intelligent by your yardstick. Saying “paleo diet” and assuming that people have knowledge of google or another search engine is a lot quicker than explaining it.

      And no, hipsters don’t go the paleo diet. It’s too mainstream and it doesn’t look good when they upload sepia photos of their food onto instagram.

    • Philosopher says:

      03:55pm | 31/10/12

      haha, excellent, all is forgiven Fiddler.

    • Stuart Germon says:

      10:12am | 31/10/12

      Politicians would be loath to try and bring in accountability for overweight people, they might loose the massive fat vote..

    • Elaine says:

      10:37am | 31/10/12

      People look for the easy way out, quick low cost takeaway, loaded with calories and way too much sugar. Cut the takaway and sugar out and do some walking every day and you will soon notice the difference. Thats what I did 4 months ago when I had blood pressure problems and I’ve lost 12kg. No more blood pressure problems, but just a word of warning there is no going back, it has to become a way of life for the rest of your life.

    • fml says:

      11:08am | 31/10/12

      But then my butler would be out of a job..

    • Rebecca says:

      04:08pm | 31/10/12

      For so many people it’s not about cost or convenience - they genuinely believe that it’s good to be obese and that society should celebrate it. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “real women should have curves!!!” come out of an obese person’s mouth…

    • Pudel says:

      06:51pm | 31/10/12

      Rebecca I have curves, I am also not obese.  I was 20kgs overweight and have lost that weight.  I feel great, my blood pressure is lower and my energy levels higher.  No suprise really.  My tummy does have a bit of flab, my legs however are decidedly skinny.  My sister is taller than me and nearly 15kgs lighter than me, her wrists are narrower than mine.  She is actually a bit underweight.  I will never have her slim build, she will never have my 14f boobs and waist hip differential.  I am a size 12-14 pant and 14-16 top.  I am happy with that and happy with my curves, 20kgs ago I was not.  I was obese I knew I was obese.  I did not want to be scrawny, and am happy now.  People know when they are overweight, most want to be less overweight, but it is bloody tough to do something about it.  Telling yourself you are happy cause men likes curves is a way of dealing.

    • ramases says:

      10:47am | 31/10/12

      Bundaberg, fat arse capital of Australia where if all the fat arse were joined would plunge the world into a nuclear winter. Why i hear you ask and even if you didn’t the reason is simple, the see food diet that so many people are on. Go into any of the eateries in Bundaberg and watch what the fatties are eating, salad, it is to laugh, no all the fried fatty foods that add to this town living up to and keeping it reputation as fat City. And they don’t just eat it, they stuff themselves with it with enough food in one sitting to feed an entire town in Ethiopia for a week.
        The answer to this is simple and stated by others on this blog, stop allowing these people access to medical treatment directly caused by their weight. Discrimination, I think not as it all boils down to people taking responsibility for their own action, an idea that is becoming extremely foreign to a lot of people but should be imposed.

    • Ridge says:

      11:06am | 31/10/12

      Hah, that raises an interesting point.  According to World Health Organisation, there are about 1 billion starving people in the world. 

      And 1.5 billion overweight/obese.

      I wonder if only there was a way to solve both problems….

    • Mack says:

      12:18pm | 31/10/12

      Successive Labor state governments aides by various tree hugger organizations have legislated personal responsibility out of the equation - hence we all now live in ‘nanny states’ where you can get as sick as you like because of your poor lifestyle choices, and the government will pick up the tab. We all pay for this largesse though, in our ever increasing taxes. It should be user pays - if your a fat arse, you pay for your lapband surgery (you can afford all that food).

    • ramases says:

      01:49pm | 31/10/12

      RIdge, send the obese people to the starving people as long pork, problem solved.

    • DocBud says:

      10:53am | 31/10/12

      Things are never as simple as the PC propaganda tries to pretend they are, it is particularly disappointing that large numbers of medical professionals prefer to push an agenda rather than evidence based outcomes:


      “Relative to the normal weight category (BMI 18.5 to <25), obesity (BMI ?30) was associated with 111 909 excess deaths (95% confidence interval [CI], 53 754-170 064) and underweight with 33 746 excess deaths (95% CI, 15 726-51 766). Overweight was not associated with excess mortality (?86 094 deaths; 95% CI, ?161 223 to ?10 966).”


      “Based on total follow-up, underweight was associated with significantly increased mortality from noncancer, non-CVD causes (23 455 excess deaths; 95% confidence interval [CI], 11 848 to 35 061) but not associated with cancer or CVD mortality. Overweight was associated with significantly decreased mortality from noncancer, non-CVD causes (?69 299 excess deaths; 95% CI, ?100 702 to ?37 897) but not associated with cancer or CVD mortality. Obesity was associated with significantly increased CVD mortality (112 159 excess deaths; 95% CI, 87 842 to 136 476) but not associated with cancer mortality or with noncancer, non-CVD mortality. In further analyses, overweight and obesity combined were associated with increased mortality from diabetes and kidney disease (61 248 excess deaths; 95% CI, 49 685 to 72 811) and decreased mortality from other noncancer, non-CVD causes (?105 572 excess deaths; 95% CI, ?161 816 to ?49 328).”

    • fml says:

      10:53am | 31/10/12

      It is well known people add weight after they quit smoking. So we shouldn’t be encouraging people to quit. Just leave em be.

    • AdamC says:

      11:34am | 31/10/12

      I definitely put on weight when I quite smoking. I would still heartily recommend quitting.

      Personally, I just do not understand this fixation on other people’s health and lifestyle. The term ‘nanny state’ is becoming an understatement.

    • Ridge says:

      12:00pm | 31/10/12

      lol this must be satirical, right?

    • Rose says:

      12:07pm | 31/10/12

      I put on weight after I gave up smoking, and then I lost it again when I cut out the lollies and crap I was using to compensate myself for giving up smoking.

    • fml says:

      12:10pm | 31/10/12

      It’s just an excuse for the easily riled to complain about how the government spends their taxes. Another expensive but ultimately futile campaign to educate kids to the evils of fast food and all will be well in the world again.

    • fml says:

      12:19pm | 31/10/12

      No, Ridge.

      Why should it?

    • Rick says:

      12:20pm | 31/10/12

      Welcome to the internetts, Ridge. Enjoy your stay.

    • DragonLass says:

      11:32am | 31/10/12

      This kind of compartmentalising of people’s health costs is pretty counter productive.  Using an example like has been done with “William” here serves no real purpose without some comparitive data. 
      In fact “William” may be saving the country money in the long run by dying relatively early.  How about comparing “William” to the cost of someone who is a healthy weight all their life, and is physically active?  They may live until they are 90, but develop dementia in their final years.  What’s the cost of that?  What’s the cost of the knee surgery needed by someone injured through long term jogging?  What about the cost of treating vegans who become extremely vitamin deficient and anemic?

    • Ridge says:

      11:58am | 31/10/12

      I think the underlying point is lost on many here.  We can argue about the costs of long life vs unhealthy life ad nauseum.  I think the real reason the ego-assuaging language of a ‘financial burden’ was used because actually being honest and telling these people outright how ugly and unhealthy they are would be just too confronting for these precious snowflakes.

    • tez says:

      11:45am | 31/10/12

      Just stand all the fatties in front of the same firing squad as the pensioner and get rid of them all.

    • Dennis 1 says:

      11:47am | 31/10/12

      Had a friend who was 300kg and she swore she was healthy and didnt have a eating problem—which is typical—she died at a young age—she had banding etc but I have never seen someone eat so much—it was amazing—-at least they help the food companies survive—I remember one of her biggest disappointments was when her local KFC stopped delivering.Every time I see people super size and especially young I can see what they are in for down the track

    • Swamp Thing says:

      11:52am | 31/10/12

      @Tez career criminals first thanks - in fact our entire prison population, then you too Tez.

    • owl says:

      12:44pm | 31/10/12

      Going by the stats a fair portion of above posters are overweight.
      Actually, being beefy is now the norm, so the beefy club are a growing powerbase
      I am a so called thin person who gets away with eating all sorts of rubbish. I know for sure that if I had to be disciplined with my eating habits I would have a weight problem.
      I have several overweight friends, and one who is morbidly obese.
      None of them are happy with their weight, several battle along with diets and fitness regimes
      My obese mate tried to book in for lap banding but got told surgery was too risky unless she lost about 30kgs. As she said to me, if I had the willpower to lose 30kgs I wouldnt need surgery at all. Consequently she has just got bigger and bigger.
      Maybe health insurance can be structured which rewards both non smokers and trim girth
      One thing that bothers me is the unkind remarks we use about our cuddly
      ones. It’s no different from unacceptable discrimatory remarks directed at minorities etc

    • Stuart Germon says:

      02:09pm | 31/10/12

      Heh one problem with that last statement, fat people aren’t in the minority, I guess it’s still discrimination though. What should we call fat people, Girth enhanced or some sort of other PC crap?

    • bec says:

      06:01pm | 31/10/12

      I think the problem is people who can be thin while eating capacious amounts of food who thus assume that to be fat, one needs to eat even more than they do.  It’s especially common with young men who can clear 4500+ calories per day without gaining a skerrick of weight.

      Meanwhile, I eat barely above my BMR of 1600 each day religiously, and… well, my weight stays stable. Boring.

    • Phillb says:

      12:47pm | 31/10/12

      For those that rant about the fatties feel free to visit htis site and work out your BMI.
      The overweight/obese categories don’t refer to actual physical size or makeup but the height:weight ratio.  A 6 foot tall gym junkie who is 100kg of solid muscle is classifed as obese exactly the same as a 6 foot tall couch potato who only lifts weights quarter pounder at a time.
      The bush people may eat, drink & smoke more but I dare say they are a lot more active then your average city dweller.  For the sake of reporting how about you get the actual rate of weight releated health problems per capita for the regional and metropolitan population.

    • Ridge says:

      01:51pm | 31/10/12

      Good point about actual body composition, however the population of lean and muscular people would be statistically insignificant compared with the normal population of fat people.

    • ramases says:

      03:16pm | 31/10/12

      23.2, not bad for a 65 year old .  I watch what I eat, gave up smoking and drinking but not bad women and play golf 3 times week and walk the course,18 holes each a about 5.6klms a game or further if I’m having a real bad day.

    • Philosopher says:

      04:02pm | 31/10/12

      all that pig shootin’, barmaid rootin’, gay bashing and wife slappin’ certainly means our friends in outback QLD are hefty with muscle wink despite the fourex swiggin’

    • Fiddler says:

      05:30pm | 31/10/12

      You had me at pig shootin’ barmaid rootin’....

    • bec says:

      06:04pm | 31/10/12

      Ramases, 23.2 would probably be classed as unhealthy for an older person, considering you’ve already lost quite a bit of muscle and bone density. Probably equivalent to a BMI of 27 or 28 for a younger person.

      BMI is also dependent on ethnicity and age. The range cut-offs are pointless for pregnant women, the elderly, children, and non-whites. So, pretty much the majority of people.

    • Phillb says:

      02:25pm | 31/10/12

      I agree Ridge but I felt it worthwhile to point it out that the term obese is not based on size direclty.
      It quite amusing to punch in the height and weight of some around the office who bag the obese and watch the look on their face when you tell them THEY are classifed as obese or overweight.  At 6 foot you only have to be 82kg to be overweight and 97kg to be obese.  Not the triple figure weight people seem to assume.

    • AFR says:

      03:55pm | 31/10/12

      As a friend once said “AFR, you don’t see any fat old people”.

      Going back to Leeton from time to time, I always feel thin (and I am 183cm and 95kg - slightly overweight). The number of hideously obese peope is astounding

    • Don says:

      05:35pm | 31/10/12

      Is there irony in the fact that one of the fellows responsible for the “Life, be in it” campaign is now just as obese as the cartoon dude? I guess that is the rub with advertising guys, they just can’t swallow their own advice, unlike other things.


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