Estimated population, aged 18 years and over, who were obese or overweight and had type 2 diabetes mellitus, 2014–15


Policy context:  Each increment in a person's body weight above their optimal level is associated with an increase in the risk of ill health. Overweight arises through an energy imbalance over a sustained period of time. While many factors may influence a person's weight, weight gain is essentially due to the energy intake from the diet being greater than the energy expended through physical activity. The energy imbalance need only be minor for weight gain to occur, and some people, due to genetic and biological factors, may be more likely to gain weight than others. Overweight is associated with higher mortality and morbidity, and those who are already overweight have a higher risk of becoming obese.

Being obese has significant health, social and economic impacts, and is closely related to lack of exercise and to diet [1]. Obesity increases the risk of suffering from a range of health conditions, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, knee and hip problems, and sleep apnoea [1].

In 2014-15, 311,000 (or 1.8%) people aged 18 years and over had type 2 diabetes and were overweight and 575,000 (or 3.3%)  people aged 18 years and over had type 2 diabetes and were obese.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Measures of Australia’s progress, 2010. (ABS Cat. no. 1370.0). Canberra: ABS; 2010

Notes:  In the absence of data from administrative data sets, estimates are provided for certain chronic diseases and conditions from the 2014–15 National Health Survey (NHS), conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Small area estimates:

Data by Population Health Area, Local Government Area and Primary Health Network are available for the 2014-15 National Health Survey in the data archive.

Indicator detail

The Body Mass Index (BMI) (or Quetelet's index) is a measure of relative weight based on an individual's mass and height. The height (cm) and weight (kg) of respondents, as measured during the AHS interview, were used to calculate the BMI, and overweight (but not obesity) was determined where a person’s BMI was between 25 and less than 30. Adults with a BMI equaling 30 or over where classified as obese. The BMI is a useful tool at a population level for measuring trends in body weight, and helping to define population groups who are at higher risk of becoming obese, and therefore developing long-term medical conditions associated with a high BMI, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Note that the modelled estimates are based on the 84.3% of persons 18 years and over in the sample who had their height and weight measured.

Persons with type 2 diabetes refers to respondents who self-reported having been told by a doctor or nurse that they had type 2 diabetes mellitus, irrespective of whether the person considered their diabetes to be current or long-term.


Geography:  Data available by quintile of socioeconomic disadvantage of area and Remoteness Area


Numerator:  Estimated number of people aged 18 years and over with type 2 diabetes and were assessed as being obese or overweight (not obese) based on their measured height and weight


Denominator:  Population aged 18 years and over


Detail of analysis:  Indirectly age-standardised rate per 100 population (aged 18 years and over); and/or indirectly age-standardised ratio, based on the Australian standard


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on direct estimates from the 2014–15 National Health Survey, ABS Survey TableBuilder.


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