Infographic: How Australia Has Become Fatter

The topic of weight and its relationship to health is contentious for some people, but the relationship between eating too much and not exercising enough is fairly clear at waistline level. The interactive infographic below, developed by the Australian Science Media Centre, shows how the percentage of obese Australians has changed over time, and shows two possible futures: one where we continue on current trends, and one where we adjust our habits.

Picture by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Hit the infographic to see the changing obesity levels. The "change our ways" approach assumes only that we cut our consumption by one glass of wine or soft drink a day, or take a 30 minute walk every day. Not exactly an earth-shattering challenge, is it?

Australian Science Media Centre


    Hopefully that isn't based of the BMI, that index is a load.

      BMI is a perfectly fine indicator as long as you use it on a population basis.

      One could argue that a BMI of 25.5 for example isn't overweight. I am not arguing against that. My main point is that BMI is perfectly fine to use on a population basis in longitudinal studies.

        No, BMI is total trash. I am sitting at 9% body fat, very lean but not huge (trying to put on a bit more muscle mass actually) but I am overweight according to BMI! It is absurd!!

          "BMI is a perfectly fine indicator as long as you use it on a population basis."

            Unless you've got an entire country of people who work out, too much muscle throws it way off.

    The relationship between weight and health is not contentious. However if you chose to stick your head in the sand and something goes wrong know that if your bmi is over 30 most surgeons won't touch you
    As for quality of life, that's up to you

    Bmi is only ineffective if you are muscular like an athlete. For fat it is an excellent indicator

    The BMI is often used incorrectly, measuring something in individuals rather than societies.

    "BMI was explicitly cited by Keys as being appropriate for population studies, and inappropriate for individual diagnosis. Nevertheless, due to its simplicity, it came to be widely used for individual diagnosis, despite its inappropriateness." - Wikipedia page on BMI

    As this shows, the graphic above can be used to see the gradual change on a societal level however this does not imply that the BMI is valid for usage on an individual. A secondary issue is that people are on average getting taller year-over-year. The BMI has well known issues with taller people such as myself. I have a high BMI and am a bit overweight, however my BMI says that I am morbidly obese whereas the fact is that I actually have an ectomorphic body type, meaning a barrel chest and broad, thick shoulders and arms. If I were an ectomorph with my weight the BMI would be representative of my health, however the body type data is not represented in the BMI.

    Say what you will, we are as a country getting fatter. Maybe have a look at the book Why we get fat and what to do about it by Gary Taubes.

    ProTip: Interactive Infographics... SUCK!

      All inforgraphics suck. I've never understood their popularity. Give me an extensive article that is reasonably well structured and written and I will happily devour it. On the other hand, present me with any infographic and my eyes glaze over and I simply cannot look any further than the main title heading. Not sure what it is (don't care enough to give it much thought), but I find just about all infographics darn near unreadable.


        Different people learn in different ways. Infographics are good for people who learn visually, as well as for condensing information in the same way charts do.

        I know I'm far more likely to look at this than bother reading a wall of text, but this thing was pretty awful.

    the only better mainstream screening index you could use is waist circumference which correlates to abdominal obesity. nonetheless the point of this graphic is clear - and by debating the merits of BMI you are clearly missing it!

    What a load of bananas. You know why we get fat, because we can. But your right on one thing Aussie girls are indeed fat and need to take an Asian diet. Love the photo, all the government cronies are like, we gotta eat this ?

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