According to a recent study, the total cost of caring for the nation's overweight and obese people is more than $56 billion a year while only a quarter of Australians have ideal weight.
The study published in the Medical Journal of Australia reveals that direct health care and other related costs amount to $21 billion, whereas government subsidies cost another $35.6 billion a year.
Prof Stephen Colagiuri, Professor of Metabolic Health at the University of Sydney, and his co-authors examined data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study, collected in 1999-2000 and 2004-2005.
He found that the direct cost of overweight and obesity in Australia is considerably higher than previous estimates.
As the number of overweight and obese adult Australians continues to rise, the direct cost of overweight and obesity will also continue to climb.
The study took in body weight date from 6,140 typically middle-aged people, just over half of whom were women.
Only 24.7% were believed to be of normal healthy weight, with 32.4% considered overweight and 42.9% rated as obese according to their body mass index score or waist circumference.
Ambulance services, hospital visits, prescription medication and items such as blood glucose self-monitoring meters and strips add to healthcare costs of the nation's overweight and obese population.
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