Nearly a third of South Australian residents will be be obese by 2019

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th September 2015

ObesityA new study predicts nearly a third of South Australian residents will be obese by 2019.


The research published in the latest Australia New Zealand Journal of Public Health says 28.7 per cent of the state’s males will be significantly overweight. Even more females will be overweight with an estimated 29.2 per cent of women fitting into the category.


These figures for South Australia forecast that the average BMI will increase from 27.2 kg/m2 to 28.0 kg/m2 in males and 26.4 kg/m2 to 27.6 kg/m2 in females from 2012-19, resulting in a 6-7 percentage points increase in obesity.


The report suggests that without major intervention the average BMI of the Australian adult population will continue to increase and obesity could be as high as 33-34 per cent of some sub-groups.


Predictions are based on lifestyle data gathered between 2003-2012. The study was undertaken by scientists from CSIRO, Flinders University, Curtin University, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and South Australian Department for Health and Ageing.


Researcher Dr Shahid Ullah, a Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics at Flinders University said he was confident in the predictions with the study using a highly regarded method, Functional Data Analysis (FTA).


“FDA has the advantage of generating models that can be described by continuous smooth dynamics,” said Dr Ullah. “It uses effective data noise reduction techniques, allowing for more accurate estimates and forecasting analysis.”


The cost of obesity in Australia


With the obesity rate increasing there are concerns for how much it will cost the Australian economy. A 2010 report totalled the direct cost of issues related to obese and overweight individuals  in Australia as $21 billion per year.


“We hope this information will encourage people to stay within their current weight status category as the predicted trajectory will have serious impacts on their quality of life,” said Dr Ullah.