Obesity is one of the most important modifiable risk factors for a number of major diseases, including type 2 diabetes mellitus, ischaemic heart disease, ischaemic stroke and several common cancers. In the last two decades, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in developed countries has increased so quickly that is has been described as an epidemic. However, until now we have lacked a detailed description of obesity trends in New Zealand over an extended period of time.
Tracking the Obesity Epidemic examines changes in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults, from 1977 to 2003 for the total population and from 1989 to 2003 for the Maori population. The report also uses to use graphical methods to visualise changes in the BMI distribution.
The data are derived from measured weight and height among adults aged 15-74 years from four national nutrition and health surveys: the 1977 National Diet Survey, 1989 Life in New Zealand Survey, 1997 National Nutrition Survey, and 2002/03 New Zealand Health Survey.