Survey Finds Senior Australians Overweight Or Obese

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28th October 2010, 03:45pm - Views: 1132

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28 October 2010



A Fitness First* survey has found one quarter (25%) of the Australian adult population is obese, while

a further 29% is overweight and 57% of people acknowledge they are unhealthy or inactive, but more

than half (56%) say they don’t have time to exercise.

Among Australians aged 50 years and over, 29% are overweight and 34% are obese although 75%

considered themselves to be healthy and 63% said they were active.

Grant Twible, Fitness Director at Fitness First Australia, said while it was natural to people to gain

weight as they got older, it was critical for people to maintain a healthy weight range and exercise


“The research showed 18% of people over 50 exercised daily which is a higher percentage than the

rest of the population (11%), but an equal 18% exercised rarely or never,” said Mr Twible.

“What’s encouraging is that 64% of Australians aged 50 and over said they wanted to exercise more

so there’s a willingness there which we need to turn into action to stay healthy and fit as we all age.”

The survey also found:

The biggest reason preventing people aged 50 and over from exercising more was difficulty in

getting motivated to do so (24%), followed by joint or cartilage problems (20%) and lack of time


30% of people over 50 said they were exercising less than they did 12 months ago

General health and wellbeing motivates the majority of active people with 58% reporting this is the

main reason they exercise.  This motivation increased to 64% in people over 50, followed by

keeping supple and flexible (33%), losing weight (31%) and maintaining a healthy weight (27%)

Australians aged 50 years and over are more likely to exercise by walking (75%) or swimming

(14%), followed by cycling (9%), using equipment or weights at a gym (8%), individual sports such

as tennis or golf (6%), running or jogging (5%), group exercise classes (4%), yoga or pilates (4%)

and with a personal trainer (2%)

The results show much can be done to improve the health and fitness of Australians, but two in three

adult Australians (67%) believe the government should do more to encourage Australians to lead an

active and healthy lifestyle.

However, Grant Twible says while the world we live in is busy, stressful and full of unhealthy food

choices, there are simple steps individuals everyone can take to improve their health and fitness.

“It’s great to see so many people over 50 enjoying walking and swimming which are great exercise

options and a even a little activity each day can make a big difference in maintaining health and

fitness,” said Twible.

“However, a little weight-bearing or resistance exercise can be very beneficial to older people for

bone strength, muscular strength and keeping your core muscles in shape to help everything from

your back to your joints.”

Simple tips for over-50s fitness include:

Get a fitness activity plan organised. Consult with your health professional and a fitness

professional to develop a plan that assesses your starting point; manages any risks; and takes

any therapeutic needs into account.

Meet or exceed 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Walking, social

sports and outings, or everyday activities like gardening or cleaning the house contribute to

functional health.


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A strength training program performed twice a week will help prevent loss of muscle mass and

bone density. Consider a resistance program in the gym; a group class; or daily functional load

bearing activities like walking up stairs or squatting in and out of a chair.

Incorporate some balance training into your plan. A combination of activities designed to increase

lower body strength and co-ordination will reduce the likelihood of falling.

Try to incorporate some basic flexibility exercises everyday. Try some basic range of motion

activities to prepare for daily activities, and some specific muscle and tendon stretches around

your fitness activities.

* Research commissioned by Fitness First Australia and conducted by Galaxy Research in August 2010.  A national study    

  of n=1,263 Australians aged 18+ years.

BMI measurements:    Obese = BMI 30+     Overweight = BMI 25-29.9    Normal - Underweight = BMI <25


Further media information/interviews:  

Nicole Browne, Media Opps    02 9954 7677   or   0414 673 762

Zannie Abbott, Media Opps    0418 274 291

About Fitness First 

Fitness First is the largest privately owned health club group in the world with over 540 Fitness First clubs worldwide reaching over 1.4

million members in 19 countries.  In Australia there are 93 Fitness First clubs with over 350,000 members.  Every month there are more

than 2 million visits to a Fitness First club in Australia, with over 200,000 personal training sessions and more than 20,000 Group Exercise


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