Australia has overtaken the US to now have the highest rate of overweight people in the world, according to new research from Melbourne’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.
The research shows that over four million Australians, or 26% of the population, are now considered obese, surpassing the 25% obesity rate in the United States.
The research was based on calculating a person’s BMI (body mass index), found by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by height in metres squared. A BMI of 20 to 25 is considered healthy, while 26 to 30 is overweight, and over 30 considered obese.
Most of the overweight people in Australia are middle aged, with 60% of women and 70% of men aged 45 to 64 now classified as obese. The study warns that those classified as obese are at a serious risk of heart disease and premature death.