Tamworth is the nation’s obesity capital. Picture: istock
Tamworth is the nation’s obesity capital. Picture: istock

Do you live in the unhealthiest suburb in NSW?

It won't be melodious to the ears of the country music city but Tamworth has been crowned the obesity capital of Australia.

Two in three (61.2 per cent) adults in the western suburbs of the New South Wales town currently hosting its annual music festival weigh in with a BMI that makes them obese, new analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.

Meanwhile the northern Sydney suburbs of Killara and Pymble have the nation's lowest obesity rate of just 13.6 per cent of adults.

 

 

Torrens University, using data from the Public Health Information Development Unit (PHIDU), exposed massive differences in health outcomes depending on where a person lives and their social and economic status.

It showed the most disadvantaged Australians are likely to die 41 years younger than those with the highest median age of death.

Half the Australians who live in the indigenous APY lands in South Australia will die before they reach 48 years of age and this region has the nation's worst median age of death.

Meanwhile half of those living in the upper middle class area of Ashburton on Melbourne- which boasts the nation's highest median age of death - will live past the age of 89.

 

The number of obese Australians has reached record levels. Picture istock
The number of obese Australians has reached record levels. Picture istock

 

The 2017-18 data, assessed by Professor John Glover, showed the number of Australians who are overweight and obese is the highest on record and weight problems are also linked to social and economic status.

The most disturbing development is that the proportion of people who are normal weight has plummeted from 43.5 per cent of the population in 1995 to just 31.7 per cent in 2017-18.

Over the same time period the proportion of adults aged 18 years and over who were overweight or obese has increased from 56.2 per cent to 67 per cent.

 

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The proportion of Australians categorised as obese has nearly doubled from 18.7 per cent in 1995 to 31.3 per cent in 2017-8.

Nationally, slightly more than one third (35.6 per cent) of Australians are now overweight and slightly less than one third are obese (31.3 per cent).

Just under one third (31.7 per cent) are within the healthy weight range and 1.3 per cent are underweight.

"These public health figures disturbingly reveal, yet again, the poorer health outcomes for people in our community who are most disadvantaged," Professor Glover said.

If you overlayed maps showing areas with the highest number of people on unemployment benefits with those showing median age of death there is a very high correlation with earlier ages of death, Professor Glover said.

Tamworth Region Mayor Col Murray said his council had a track record of working with various organisations which are focused on improving the health and wellbeing of the local community.

"Our Council has a close working relationship with Hunter New England Health and organisations such as the Heart Foundation," he said.

"Most recently we supported trainer Michelle Bridges in her initiative to launch a special program for the New England region last year."

 

The number of normal weight people has dramatically declined. Picture: istock
The number of normal weight people has dramatically declined. Picture: istock

 

Health risks by area

The report also found the suburb of Whalan in Mount Druitt in Sydney had the highest rate of diabetes nationally (11.8 per cent).

Sydney's Avalon - Palm Beach/Newport - Bilgola, Perth's Cottesloe - Claremont - Central, City Beach/Floreat and Cottesloe - Claremont - South, and regional Queensland's Noosa Heads/Noosaville have the lowest rates of diabetes (all 2.9 per cent).

Hobart's Bridgewater - Gagebrook had the highest rate of asthma nationally (19.5 per cent) while inner Melbourne had the lowest (4.8 per cent).

Hobart's Bridgewater - Gagebrook was also estimated to have the highest number of smokers (with 33.9 per cent of the adult population) while Perth's City Beach/Floreat had the nation's lowest smoking rate of 4.5 per cent.

Melbourne's Cranbourne/Cranbourne West is estimated to have the highest rate of heart stroke and vascular disease nationally (7.1 per cent) and Katherine in regional NT had the lowest rate (2.7 per cent).

Melbourne's Meadow Heights had the nation's highest rates of psychological distress in the nation (31.6 per cent) and Sydney's North Sydney - Mosman - West had the lowest (7.4 per cent).

Several localities shared the highest median age at death of 85 years; they are Ballina in New South Wales, Grovedale in Victoria, Clear Island Waters/ Merrimac in Queensland and Nuriootpa - Tanunda in South Australia.

Tamworth has been crowned the obesity capital of Australia.
Tamworth has been crowned the obesity capital of Australia.

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