Central Qld has third highest rate of obesity in Australia
CENTRAL Queensland has the third highest obesity rate in the country at 39% and is also among the highest in the nation for smoking and tobacco use.
The figures come as Queensland Health launches a major anti-obesity campaign aimed at tackling the rising rates of obesity in the state.
When overweight and obesity rates are combined in central Queensland, seven in every 10 people are classified as overweight or obese.
A total of 22% of the region's population smokes on a daily basis.
CQ Medicare Local board chairman and pharmacist Bruce Elliot said the reports showed why a major effort at the community level was needed, and renewed government support for this was overdue.
"It's clear from these reports that the rural and regional areas of Australia, like central Queensland, are struggling with higher rates of overweight people, obesity and rates of smoking amongst adults," Mr Elliot said.
"People in central Queensland are almost three times more likely to be obese in comparison to those that live in Sydney's Northern Beaches and 40% more likely to smoke in comparison to Brisbane metro areas."
Obesity is now the leading preventable cause of premature death in Queensland, a state that has the highest rate of adult obesity in Australia.
Research associated with the campaign shows even though 65% of Queenslanders are overweight or obese, one third do not realise it.
Diabetes Queensland has welcomed the new Healthier. Happier. campaign and acknowledged the role it would play in the fight against obesity.
"With two-thirds of Queenslanders overweight or obese, it is not an overstatement to say that the obesity epidemic is the single biggest threat to the health of Queenslanders," Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute said.
"We hope this campaign encourages Queenslanders to eat less, eat better and get active.
"We know obesity is a major factor in a number of chronic diseases including some cancers, heart disease and the world's fastest growing chronic disease type 2 diabetes.
"Obesity also costs the Queensland economy around $11.6 billion per annum and we can't keep putting that on our credit card."
The $8.5 million campaign will feature TV, radio, press, online and outdoor advertisements over three years, and will start on Sunday.