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