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Australia Is The Fattest Nation In The World Overtaking America

May 30th, 2010 · 10 Comments ·


When I read the headline saying Australia has become the fattest nation in the world, I was puzzled. I always had the impression that US had the most super-sized people. I later realized that the report, which was prepared by Melbourne’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, made the conclusion based on the percentage of the population. The latest figure shows that 4 million Australians or 26% of the adult population are obese whereas US has about 25%. A further 5 million Australians are considered overweight.

The report with the title of “Australia’s Future Fat Bomb” is using body mass index (BMI) to classify one whether overweight or obese. A BMI of over 25 is considered overweight while more than 30 is obese. BMI is actually not an ideal tool to measure obesity because it does not distinguish muscle and fat. For example, BMI may indicate a rugby player or bodybuilder as obese. However, even with potential discrepancy of BMI and by taking out few of the figure out, Australia still has many adults are battling obesity.


The report has several interesting points worth mentioned:

  • It mentioned that if Australia participate in the fat Olympics, they will be gold medal winner as the fattest people on earth or being the “heavy weight” champion.
  • It encourages people to do something about their weight. People are having children at older age and therefore it is important to live long enough to spend more quality with with their children when they are old.
  • By getting overweight Australians to lose 5 kilograms in 5 months could reduce heart related hospital admissions by 27% and reduce deaths by 34% over the next 20 years. Indirectly, much medical cost can be saved.
  • The report proposes to get towns in the country to compete for the “healthy” status. Towns that lose the most weight will be rewarded with cash to build sports centers and swimming pools. I thought towns lose the least weight should be helped with all those sports facilities, rite?
  • It also suggests government to subsidize gym memberships and personal training sessions for fat people. Other measures such as better nutritional labeling, more funding for weight loss surgery and crack down on junk food marketing to kids are also recommended.

While Americans may feel relieved knowing they are not the fattest country in the world, but the 1% statistical difference is nothing to be comfortable at. Therefore, be it American or Australian or other people in other nations, especially developed countries, something need to be done. While being fat is not necessarily a health risk for everyone, but the chances of getting health complications like diabetes or heart attack are high. What I worry is the next generation too. The children may be influenced with unhealthy lifestyle shown by obese parents when comes to diet control and exercise.




Category: Fitness News

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10 responses so far ↓
  • G Allen // May 30, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    Totally agree about the flaws regarding BMI….I’m surprised this flawed system is still in use.

  • Angie Tan // Jun 4, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Yeah.. Not surprising that Aussies are becoming fatter these days.

    The portions are huge with loads of carbs and fried food as a side dish. The cookies and candies section in Aussie grocery stores like Coles are well-stocked too..

    Using BMI is just not right… Whenever I see the doctor, they still use BMI but at the gym, we measure fat % now.

  • Kyle // Jun 5, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    Wow, that’s a big surprise! I didn’t think any country had more obese people than the United States. I used to live there for a few years.

    Every restaurant there served portions enough for 3 people…

    BTW BMI is flawed but it’s popularity emerged from the insurance industry which did a lot of research on BMI and health risk.

  • carlist // Jun 7, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    It wasn’t a big surprise to me. Australians is one of the nations that drink the most milk in the world and the servings of their food is also very huge.

    Although BMI is flawed, there is still some truth in it. =)

  • Kody // Jul 4, 2010 at 11:01 PM

    Wow I didn’t know Australia was like that! I thought the US was the fat king of the world lol.

  • Florentine // Sep 15, 2010 at 10:03 AM

    I’m Canadian, and sadly we’re quickly catching up with America and Australia, Even our high school kids are getting triple chins and big pot bellies

    Fretting about the flaws of BMI is just a form of denial. Very muscular people have to make allowances, but most people aren’t heavily muscled and their excess weight is caused by Burger King. not weight lifting.

  • Rosetta // Nov 13, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    There are many reasons why there are so many obese people in the world. The number one reason is not exercising enough and obviously eating very fatting food and constantly drinking liquid sugars and not enough plain water, not enough raw vegetables, fruit, plants.

    Also other factors include drugs such as antidepressants and birth control pills. Flouride is also debated to possibly cause instability of normal thyroid. The portion sizes of the fatty food and sugary drinks and not enough water or exercising will obviously stunt the metabolism and lead to obeseity.

    Also high sodium/salt intake dehydrates you so you swell with excess water causing fatty look. Vegetables have negative calories which means your body burns more calories digesting them than the calories they contain.
    You can lose weight by eating a huge amount of raw vegetables and drinking a lot of regular water.

    The 3 things that will make people healthy again
    A lot of EXERCISE, plain WATER, Raw Fruit & Vegetables!

    Main reason why children are fat is because they don’t run around and play outside because their parents have stranger danger and accident paranoia. Also inactivity by playing technology games, not drinking plain water enough and not eating healthy. I think that people chose to be fat by the choices they make and then blame McDonalds for making them fat. Otherwise they have a medical condition.

  • bree // Dec 3, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    So technically we’re NOT the fattest country riight ? :D
    riiight ? riiight ? D: !

  • Adam // Jan 6, 2011 at 2:46 AM

    A very interesting post. I have never been to Australia but is my #1 place to visit. I never thought any country would come close to the U.S. because there are obese people everywhere.

  • Tabitha // Jan 11, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    I also find it hard to believe that Australia is the world’s fattest nation, especially considering in Nauru 90% of adults have a higher BMI than the world average. While this statistic still uses the BMI, it is at least comparing it to the world average. Even in Tonga, 70% of women aged 15-85 are obese. I live in Australia and Malaysia, and while Australians do tend to be fatter than Malaysians, being in America was an absolute eye-opener as so many people there were grossly overweight and obese. This of course is just based on my personal observation. Any thoughts….?

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