Alcohol consumption and obesity higher in rural Australia, report finds

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 24th May 2012

A nationwide study, published today by Roy Morgan Research, has found that people living in rural Australia are more likely to consume alcohol and be overweight and obese.

The Roy Morgan State of the Nation Report 11, which includes a focus on rural Australia, surveyed 10,987 Australians living in cities and 8,049 living in country areas during the 12 months to March 2012.

The survey found that 72.2 per cent of those living in country areas drunk alcohol in an average four week period, compared with 68 per cent of city residents.

Beer, spirits and ready-to-drink products were all more popular in the country, whereas wine and cider were consumed by a higher proportion of city dwellers, according to the survey’s findings.

The survey also found that 31.3 per cent of country residents are deemed an acceptable weight, compared with 37.8 per cent of those in the city. As well as this difference, 35.3 per cent of country residents were found to be overweight compared with 34.8 per cent of those in the city.

Commenting on the findings, Roy Morgan Research’s Norman Morris said, “The State of the Nation report also identified reduced participation in sport and exercise for country residents compared to those in the city, as well as less agreement with healthy eating attitudes, such as thinking about calorie consumption and concern for cholesterol levels.

“The increased prevalence of drinking, and a larger body mass among country residents is concerning given the reduced medical services available in rural areas. Although, as  part of the focus on rural Australia, a Roy Morgan Poll telephone survey on country residents found that only 5 per cent considered health to be the most important issue facing Australia today,” Mr Morris added.