Journal Article

Future predictions of body mass index and overweight prevalence in Australia, 2005–2025

Michelle M. Haby, Alison Markwick, Anna Peeters, Jonathan Shaw and Theo Vos

in Health Promotion International

Volume 27, issue 2, pages 250-260
Published in print June 2012 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online June 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dar036
Future predictions of body mass index and overweight prevalence in Australia, 2005–2025

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To predict current and future body mass index (BMI) and prevalence of overweight and obesity in Australian children and adults based on sex, age and year of birth (cohort). These predictions are needed for population health planning and evaluation. Data were drawn from 11 cross-sectional national or state population surveys conducted in Australia between 1969 and 2004. These included representative population samples of children (n= 27 635) and adults (n= 43 447) aged 5 years or older with measured height and weight data. Multiple linear regression analyses of measured log-transformed BMI data were conducted to determine the independent effects of age and year of birth (cohort) on ln(BMI) for males and females, respectively. Regression coefficients for cohort obtained from these analyses were applied to the National Nutrition Survey 1995 data set to predict mean BMI and prevalence of overweight (BMI 25–29.99 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI ≥30kg/m2) in 2005, 2015 and 2025. Based on past trends, BMI is predicted to continue to increase for both males and females and across the age span. This would result in increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity of between 0.4 and 0.8% per year, such that by 2025 around one-third of 5–19 year olds will be overweight or obese as will 83% of males and 75% of females aged 20 years and over. The increases in prevalence and mean BMI predicted in this study will have significant impacts on disease burden, healthcare costs and need for prevention and treatment programmes.

Keywords: body mass index; forecasting; overweight; prevalence; Australia

Journal Article.  5313 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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