New figures reveal South Australians are heavier than ever, with obesity rates at an all-time high. Residents in Adelaide’s north are struggling the most with their health, prompting a plea for more support from the government.
Davoren Park recorded the highest obesity rate in the state at 55.5 per cent.
The report by Torrens University revealed Elizabeth, Smithfield and Elizabeth North have the second highest obesity rate at 52 per cent, followed by Elizabeth East, Gawler South and Christie Downs.
Wattle Park in Adelaide’s east is the healthiest, with 21 per cent classified as obese.
“Lower levels of education, housing difficulties, low income, unemployment, all of these things lead to disadvantage and to poorer health status and to obesity,” Torrens University Professor John Glover said.
The Heart Foundation supports this argument.
“We do know that where you live has as much impact on your health as how you live. There are disparities among our suburbs in Adelaide which is concerning,” Imelda Lynch from the Heart Foundation said.
“It is a really significant problem in South Australia and we really have to start working hard on introducing some health prevention strategies across the state to try and drive those rates down.”
Davoren Park man Brandon Booth used to weigh 100kg.
“Looking in the mirror and thinking what have I done basically, just staring was the hardest part for me,” he said. He signed up to an 8-week challenge at his local gym, dropping 26kg.
“Exercising every day is a good habit to get into as I’ve discovered.” The Heart Foundation says the government can play a key role in helping to reduce obesity rates, by developing a long-term plan with a greater focus on education.
“Set promotion and prevention programs for people, we need the government to support education in the communities,” Ms Lynch said.
“We hope that these findings provide even more impetus for health policymakers, agencies and providers to address the health inequalities facing disadvantaged South Australians,” Professor Glover agrees.