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A quarter of Queensland deaths linked to obesity

A quarter of Queensland deaths linked to obesity
November 21, 2014

A report from Queensland Health has found a quarter of all deaths in the state are linked to people's weight.

The just released Health of Queenslanders report, showed while there had been some improvements since the last report two years ago, there were still many dietary challenges to address.

The report showed 65% of adults, and 28% of children in Queensland are overweight or obese - worse rates than any other part of Australia.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said obesity rates have increased by over 20% in four years, stating "we have the sad mantle of being the 'heaviest' state in Australia,

"It's hard to fathom - at least, I find it hard to fathom, why we have such problems here in Queensland.

"We've got the best climate for getting outside and being active, and we have got some of the best food - fruit and vegetables are second to none. Somehow, we've got to do something."

Dr Young said the evidence pointed to Queenslanders eating too much of the wrong food and moving too little.

She added "Queenslanders have a much distorted view of their weight, particularly as big, bigger and huge is now our norm.

"We are witnessing an increase in physical activity but there is still too much sedentary behaviour."

According to the report, only 60% of Queensland adults and 41% of children were achieving the recommended physical activity levels.

Dr Young said overall, Queensland was a healthy state with life expectancy rates showing Queenslanders were outliving much of the world's population.

She concluded "when compared to 187 countries, Queensland would be ranked among the top 10 for life expectancy but there are still opportunities to make gains in our health status.

"We need to address the increasing burden of hospitalisations by preventing disease and maximising opportunities for treatment and management in the primary healthcare setting.

"We can prevent early deaths by focussing on the risks that cause them and we need to improve the daily eating patterns of all Queenslanders – fewer snacks, less junk food, sugary drinks and alcohol, and more fruit and vegetables."

The Health of Queenslanders 2014, key findings:

• Outliving much of the world - of 187 countries, Queensland ranked among top 10
• Living longer - a gain of about two years in the past decade
• Death rates going down - 14% decrease in a decade, and a larger decline in premature deaths
• Smoking less, breathing easier - over a decade, smoking decreased by 26% and male death rates for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer decreased by about 20%
• Diabetes increasing - prevalence increased by 25% over the past 12 years
• Gaining weight - average adult Queenslander gained about 3kg in a decade and obesity rates increased 2.5 times over two decades—by measurement 28% of children are overweight or obese and 65% of adults
• Young minds troubled - anxiety and depression a leading cause of disease burden, with suicide the leading cause of death in young people
• Poor diet choices - more than one-third of daily energy intake derived from energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods such as sugary drinks, snack foods and confectionery.

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