2.22 Overweight and obesity

This measure reports on the prevalence of Indigenous Australians who are overweight or obese.

Why is it important?

This measure reports on the prevalence of overweight and obesity among Indigenous Australians. Overweight and obesity is a global health problem (OECD 2014). Being overweight or obese increases the risk of various health conditions, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, respiratory problems, joint problems, sleep disorders, and social problems. The excess burden of obesity in the Indigenous population is estimated to explain 1 to 3 years (9% to 17%) of the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non‑Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory (Zhao et al. 2013).

Related measures

Data sources

  • Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey
  • Australian Health Survey
  • National Key Performance Indicators for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care


  • OECD 2014. Obesity update. OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs. Paris: OECD Publishing.
  • Zhao Y, Wright J, Begg S & Guthridge S 2013. Decomposing Indigenous life expectancy gap by risk factors: a life table analysis. Population health metrics 11:1.