The rising prevalence of overweight and obesity in the Australian population like in the rest of the developed world can be attributable to the increasing levels of physical inactivity as well as the shifts in food consumption patterns (Banwell, Hinde, Dixon, & Sibthorpe, 2005). Other studies further support this claim by attributing the prevalence of the obesity epidemic in low-income and middle-income countries to new dietary habits and sedentary lifestyles, which further aggravate the risk of chronic diseases and premature mortality in populations (Cecchini et al. , 2010). Further still, a recent study by Cheong et al, (2010) also implicates socio-economic status, lifestyle habits, as well as psychosocial factors in the rising prevalence of both obesity and overweight on a global scale; precisely, socio-demographic and psychosocial factors as well as working hours of individuals are more likely to contribute to obesity of particular individuals in the populations.
Prevalence of obesity The prevalence of overweight and obesity in Australian children in particular is on rising trend of nearly one percentage point per year, which equates to nearly 40000 more children becoming overweight on a yearly basis (Sanigorski, Bell, Kremer & Swinburn, 2007).
Furthermore, it is argued that Australian children rank highest in global estimations of highly at risk of obesity and while girls are more likely to be obese than boys, children of lower socioeconomic status are even at a much greater risk of overweight and obesity. It is evident that the global prevalence of childhood obesity has gone up in recent years and the epidemic of childhood obesity poses greater public health challenge since obesity in childhood is more likely to persist into adulthood thereby predisposing individuals to the heightened risk of disease burden in later life (Jurgen, Wolfenstetter & Wenig, 2012).
Overweight and obesity cases in the Australian population were on a rising trend during the 1990s and given the country’s progressively worsening obesogenic environment in contemporary times, the risk of obesity for the more recently born cohorts in the country is further aggravated (Allman-farinelli et al. , 2008). Walls et al, (2012) project the progression of the incidence of obesity in Australia drawing from measures of overweight and obesity prevalence derived from a national longitudinal study.
Their findings support the thesis that if the rates of weight gain remain constant, then the prevalence of obesity will rise by 65% while the proportion of normal-weight adults will be less than a third of the Australian population by 2025.