Australians are smoking and drinking less, but obesity levels have risen

The latest data from the Bureau of Statistics has found while Australians are smoking and drinking less, obesity levels have risen. The national health survey is a regular check up of our nation’s health based on a sample of 19,000 Australians. 

Here are the Facts

  • Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of Australian adults are overweight or obese.
    Men are battling the bulge worse than women; 7 in 10 Australian men and 1 in 2 Australian women are overweight or obese. More than 11 million people. 
  • 1 in 7 adults smoke daily.
    This rate has fallen by around a around one-third over the last 15 years. The NT has the highest rate of daily smokers followed by Tasmania. 
  • One in 6 Australian adults is at risk of long-term harm from alcohol.
    The good news is the number of people consuming more than the recommended maximum of 2 standard drinks per day has dropped from 19% two years ago to 17%. 
  • More than 1 million Australian have diabetes. 
    In the past three years alone, 200,000 more Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Only one out of 20 Australians eats enough fruit or vegetables.
    Only one in three Australians gets enough exercise.
Watch this video from the Australian Bureau of Statistics

Improve your heart health

90 per cent of Australians have one modifiable risk factor for heart disease. 

Poor diet, low physical activity, smoking, excess alcohol, excess weight and high blood pressure all contribute to cardiovascular disease - the leading cause of death in Australia.

Over Christmas and New Year, be conscious of what you are consuming. You can improve your heart health by quitting smoking, drinking less and exercising regularly. 

Smokers are about 4 times more likely to die from heart disease than non-smokers. And passive smoking is linked to an increased risk of dying from heart disease.

The government's health guidelines recommend healthy men and women drink no more than two standard drinks on any day.

And they recommend eating 375 grams of vegetables and 300 grams of fruit a day, and doing 2½ hours of exercise each week.

The Heart Research Institute is at the forefront of researching the causes and complications of cardiovascular disease in order to better prevent, detect and treat cardiovascular disease. 


- Martha Tattersall

Related news

HRI welcomes Dr Ashish Misra as Unit Leader

The Heart Research Institute welcomes Dr Ashish Misra as Unit Leader of the Atherosclerosis and Vascular Remodelling Group.

Read more

Meet the team: Dr Melissa Farnham

Born and raised in Nevada, USA, Dr Melissa Farnham originally had no interest in research. Now Unit Leader of the High Blood Pressure Group at HRI, and balancing the challenges of family and work, she couldn’t imagine any other career path.

Read more

Protecting the most at-risk from diabetes

Diabetes is one of the major risk factors for heart disease – in fact, people living with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease as those without. In Australia, one person develops diabetes every five minutes, and Aboriginal Australians suffer disproportionately from it. So what are we doing about it?
Read more