Risk factors for overweight and obesity: results from the 2001 National Health Survey

A. Brown, M. Siahpush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objectives: A significant rise in the proportion of overweight and obese adults has produced a serious health epidemic in Australia and worldwide. The current research aimed to identify sociodemographic and behavioural predictors of overweight and obesity among a large representative sample of Australian adults. Study design: We used the National Health Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2001. The survey involved a stratified multistage area sample of private dwellings and face-to-face interviews. Methods: We analysed data from 8643 females and 7600 males who responded to the 2001 National Health Survey. Multinomial logistic regression examined the association of being overweight or obese versus a healthy weight with a range of sociodemographic and behavioural variables. Results: Fewer females than males were overweight while similar proportions were obese. For females and males, overweight and obesity were significantly associated with older age, being born in Australia, not being in a marriage-like relationship, low education, physical inactivity, and being a non/ex-smoker. High household incomes are protective from obesity but not from being overweight. Additionally, females with high levels of area social disadvantage and males in professional or white-collar occupations were more likely to be overweight or obese than a healthy weight. Conclusions: Reductions in mortality and morbidity associated with overweight and obesity may be achieved by targeting health promotion strategies to high-risk groups such as those who are older, single, Australian born, socioeconomically disadvantaged, physically inactive, and non-smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-613
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Body weight
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Risk factors
  • Sociodemographic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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