One in three Australian women obese in 2014

Posted by Josette Dunn on 29th October 2010

Research by Datamonitor, the independent market analyst firm, has revealed that women tend to encounter weight problems more than men and by 2014 one-third (32.6%) of them will be either obese or overweight. In fact 7.3 million people will be obese in Australia by 2014.

Mark Whalley, analyst at Datamonitor said, “It is surprising that despite intense government campaigns and continual media attention around healthy eating, obesity levels are continuing to rise. However this attention may have led to information overload as our research has shown that although 42% of consumers are interested in reading or hearing about the relationship between food and weight, this has dropped by 7% since last year.”

As consumers become more aware of foods and food trends, some foods become fashionable and trigger potentially unhealthy fad diets. This promotes continuous switching behaviour wherein ‘the latest diet’ takes precedence over more ‘sensible methods’ or ‘things that work’.

It is not necessarily right to assume that the obesity problem in Australia is due to a lack of interest in weight. 50% of Australian consumers who were asked about their weight management said they were trying to lose weight. In fact in the last year there has been a 6% increase in the number of Australian following a specific diet plan. However it is sticking to the plans that consumers are finding difficult to achieve.

The research has also revealed that obesity levels in Australia cannot be completely attributed to a lack of education as 74% claim to know how many calories they are advised to consume a day.

Mr. Whalley continued, “Tackling obesity is challenging due to an inherent lack of trust as consumers are highly sceptical towards weight loss products and the motives of the industry as a whole. Many consumers have tried and failed with weight management regimes and direct this frustration towards the industry. There is a perception that companies are capitalising on a societal problem for their own gain and that they are more focused on generating revenue than creating products which are genuinely effective.

As obesity levels are continuing to rise it is clear that many current weight management solutions have failed consumers. Therefore more consumers are demanding better science from their products. A support network is vital as consumers need motivation to help with long-term weight loss. We believe that this encouragement, whether this be in person, in the form of social networks or even apps for mobile phones will become increasingly crucial in tackling the obesity problem.”