Bundaberg has a big problem with 69 per cent of people obese or overweight, according to the Australian Medical Association (AMA).
For the inaugural Obesity Awareness Week, AMA Queensland president Dr Dilip Dhupelia released findings of a survey of GPs about their overweight and obese patients.
It revealed more than 70 per cent of Queensland doctors had seen a rise in the number of patients with obesity-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke, compared with five years ago.
AMA Queensland Central Queensland representative Dr Nick Yim said some doctors in the region were treating up to 20 per cent more patients with obesity-related illnesses.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data collated by the Public Health Information Development Unit at Torrens University in Adelaide found in Bundaberg, 34 per cent of residents were obese while another 35 per cent were overweight.
“Any increase is extremely concerning,” Dr Yim said.
“Also extremely concerning is that many Queenslanders don’t seem to take their health seriously.
“Nearly 90 per cent of GPs surveyed said their patients were not willing to make healthy changes, even when they knew their weight was posing health risks.
“Apart from the impact on individual health, this obesity epidemic is a huge burden on regional health services.”
Obesity Awareness Week, from March 2-6, was created by AMA Queensland to help Queenslanders create healthier habits at work, home and school.
It challenges people to a realistic daily challenge – from adding more steps or switching off a screen, to swapping junk food for healthier options.
Dr Dhupelia said the first step for overweight or obese people was to see their GP for a health check-up and to create a plan.
Obesity facts and figures
- In Queensland, two-thirds (66%) of adults and one quarter (25%) of children overweight or obese. That’s risen from 61% of adults and 20% of children in 2007-08
- Obesity costs Australian businesses $477 million a year through lost productivity and absenteeism.
- Obesity contributes to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
Be Active, Be Alive
Bundaberg Regional Council's free Be Active Be Alive program continues throughout March.
The program delivers 160 free fitness activities in local pools and parks across the region.