BALLARAT has been labelled as one of the more unhealthy cities in the country with a huge jump in obesity rates and a just as big a decline in the number of people exercising.
The figures show Ballarat has the second largest increase in any major urban area of adults who are overweight or obese with an 8.2 per cent jump for a total of 75.3 per cent.
The figures compare 2007-08 to 2011-12.
Similarly, the figures show Ballarat has the largest decline of any major urban area in terms of adults meeting physical activity guidelines with a drop 22.6 per cent for a total of 34.3 per cent. The figures were recently released in the Progress in Australian Regions Yearbook 2015 with the statistics coming from a variety Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys.
While the yearbook makes it clear the figures have a decent margin for error, it still paints a worrying picture for health in the region.
Ballarat MP Catherine King described the figures as “distressing” saying Australia, like most western nations, is in the midst of an obesity epidemic.
“The latest ABS National Health survey shows 63.4 per cent of Australian adults or 11.2 million people are now overweight or obese.”
“The regional yearbook, sadly, confirms as with most health outcomes, that these figures are worse in regional areas. But it’s particularly distressing to me, as both the local MP and Shadow Minister for Health, that the results in Ballarat are so alarming.
“Clearly, we must do more, much more, to get people to be more active, to eat more healthy food and to turn around this epidemic or this epidemic will only worsen, and too many people in our community will be at risk of diabetes and heart disease, and denied the chance to live a long, and healthy life.”
Western Victoria Primary Health Network chief Jason Trethowan echoed this sentiment saying residents should take preventative measures by visiting their doctor or by doing some form of physical activity.
“Typically the further you are away from an urban centre the worse it is, there are many reasons for it, sometimes it is limited access to health services.”