One in 6 obese Australians say they have healthy weight:survey

One in 6 obese Australians say they have healthy weight:survey

The survey done on 1200 people found one in four persons who are considered obese as per the body mass index (BMI), rate their health as being "very good" or "excellent", and one in five believe their risk of getting heart disease is "low" to "very low".

The tendency to judge ourselves against other people, rather than scientifically based weight guidelines, was "normalising" obesity, Heart Foundation, which commissioned the survey, was quoted by 'The Age' report today.

Heart Foundation chief Lyn Roberts said that despite years of public health messages, there was still an alarming lack of awareness about cardiovascular risks of being overweight.

"As our waistlines expand, it appears that our perception of what is a healthy weight has also expanded, so many people who are overweight or obese do not actually see themselves in this way," Roberts said.

The survey found misconceptions about the ideal weight range, based on a BMI of 20-24.9, increased alongside an overall weight gain among the participants in the 12 months since the previous survey.

Using self-reported height and weight, 54 per cent of participants were overweight or obese, up from 50 per cent 2008. One in six who had a BMI of 30 or more believed their weight met health guidelines, compared to one in nine last year.

The proportion of overweight people (those with a BMI between 25 and 29) who thought they were in the healthy range also increased, from 51 to 57 per cent in 12 months.

The survey, which was jointly funded by the life insurance company Zurich, found almost half of obese Australians had made no changes to their behaviour to reduce their risk of heart disease, such as quitting smoking, exercising and eating more fruit and vegetables.
One in four obese people smoked, with most smoking daily, a proportion 70 per cent higher than people of ideal weight range.