Close to a third of adults living in Hume and Whittlesea are considered to be obese, according to a new study.
The Australian Health Tracker study found that 45,804 adults living in Hume – or 33.3 per cent of the adult population – are obese.
More than 70 per cent of the adult population in Hume is considered to be overweight or obese, while 10.5 per cent of young people are obese.
In Whittlesea, 43,270, or 30.8 per cent of adults are obese, while 69 per cent of adults are considered to be obese or overweight.
Nine per cent of Whittlesea’s youth are obese.
The Central Goldfields local government area has Victoria’s highest rate of obesity, with 36.1 per cent of the adult population considered obese.
Mitchell Institute spokeswoman Rosemary Calder said the health tracker highlighted the impact of where people live and wealth on their health.
She has called for greater focus on prevention strategies in the most disadvantaged communities.
“We have spent too long as a nation expecting individuals to be able to change their behaviour to reduce their weight,” Professor Calder said.
“However, the evidence is very clear that this has little chance of success without a very strong focus on the environmental factor in the places where we live that contribute to poor nutrition and inactivity.” Professor Calder said places with the highest rates of obesity also have higher rates of smoking, inactivity and chronic illness and are largely low socio-economic communities.
She said low socio-economic communities were often a substantial distance from metropolitan centres and lacked the physical infrastructure to support healthy lifestyles.
“Local governments are critical to local planning and the creation of healthy and active spaces for their residents,” she said.