Source: The Mercury, 24 August, 1999, p.4


Aussie growth figures promise fat returns

 
 
By KATE MINOGUE 
in Sydney 
 
EVERY adult Australian 
would be obese by 2050 
if the nation's present 
eating habits continued, 
a health expert said 
yesterday. 
 
   And as the population 
steadily gained weight, more 
people would suffer from 
non-insulin dependent 
diabetes, cardiovascular 
disease and musculoskeletal 
disease. 
 
   Yesterday health experts 
met at Bondi Beach to devise 
a plan to involve the whole 
community in fighting the 
nation's $13 billion obesity 
problem. 
 
   The conference was told 
women were on average 3kg 
heavier at the end of the 
1980s than they were at the 
beginning, while men were 
1.7kg heavier. 
 
   This equated to an increase 
of one gram a day throughout 
the decade for women and half 
that for men. 
 
   The Federal Government's 
National Obesity Prevention 
Group chair Ian Caterson said: 
"By about the year 2050 
we are all going to be obese." 

  "Even if we increase by 2% we 
will still all be obese if we 
keep going the way we have 
been," Professor Caterson 
said. 
 
   "It's the non-communicable 
disease that will be a problem 
in 2020 not the 
communicable diseases," he 
said. 
 
   Already 66% of Australian 
men and half of women were 
overweight or obese. 
 
   Professor Caterson said 
these figures had doubled in 
the past 10 years. 
 
   Those in sedentary jobs 
including office workers and 
drivers were more likely to be 
obese, as were the 
unemployed and low income 
earners. 
 
   However, co-ordinator of 
Tasmania's Community 
Nutrition Unit, Julie Williams 
said that in trying to shed 
kilos those who were 
overweight should make sure 
they adopted a program which 
did not involve an unrealistic 
goal. 
 
   She said any weight loss 
program should focus on 
improving overall well-being 
rather than simply weight 
loss. 
 
   The National Health and 
Medical Research Council's 
strategic plan to attack 
obesity, which has just 
begun, has also found: 
 
* Adult men seem to rapidly 
increase their weight between 
25 and 40. 
 
* Women's weight changes 
most markedly between 45- 
55. 
 
* The average "Norm" has a 
sedentary occupation such as 
in an office or driving. 
 
* Unemployed and low income 
groups have higher rates of 
people overweight and 
obesity.


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