If you’re an Australian adult, chances are you’re fitter and eating better than you were six years ago, but you’re more anxious and overweight.
The good news is that alcohol and smoking is down, exercise is up, and nutrition is slightly improved. But mental health issues and obesity are worsening, according to Roy Morgan’s quarterly State of the Nation Report, which surveys almost 50,000 Australians per year.
Australia is now 180,000 tonnes over weight, with 61 per cent of the population overweight or obese.
The most worrying of trends is the rise in anxiety, which has increased from 9 per cent of the population in 2007 to almost 16 per cent.
Mr and Mrs Oz
John Oz, 36, and Jane Oz, 38, are married, with two children, two cars, and a three-bedroom home in a capital city. John will live to 81, and Jane can expect to live to 85.
The latest ABS data shows that over two-thirds of adults had been married at some point. Just over half had not divorced.
Despite our multicultural society, the couple were both born in Australia, as were their parents. They speak only English at home and identify as Christian, probably Catholic.
If they aren’t employed as sales assistants (the single most popular form of employment), then John might be a truck driver, electrician or retail manager, and Jane might be a general clerk, primary school teacher or office manager.
They have both finished Year 12 and probably have a non-school qualification – most likely a Certificate in Business and Management.
According to Roy Morgan Research, Mr and Mrs Oz don’t smoke. But their friends who do are puffing on almost two fewer cigarettes a day.
Mr and Mrs Oz are drinking less – almost a full glass of alcohol less than six years ago. They are buying less beer, wine, spirits and ready-to-drink alcohol, but do enjoy a cider more often.
Mr and Mrs Oz are overweight, and have each put on an extra kilo since 2008. John is now carrying an extra 15 kilos, and Jane would need to lose 17 kilos to get back into a health weight range.
Neither of them play any organised sport, but they do go jogging together sometimes, and Jane has started going to Pilates.
They are in the minority. Most Australians (51.5 per cent) did no formal exercise in an average three-month period, although this has improved by 3.1 percentage points since 2008, according to Roy Morgan.
Last month’s health report from the AIHW found that just over 2 in 5 adults were sufficiently active to meet the recommended minimum level of exercise each week, which is 150 minutes per week of moderate or vigorous activity.
In a past month, John and Jane bought take away pizza just once. Almost 57 per cent of Australians eat fast food in the average month, which is slightly less than in 2008.
Their next-door neighbours (who represent nearly 23 per cent of the population) are much bigger fans of greasy food. They eat out 10 or more times in an average month, up from 19.3 per cent in 2008.
Like most Australians, the Oz family is definitely not eating enough fruit and veggies. A whopping 96 per cent do not eat the recommended two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables a day.
Anxiety is a big problem for John and Jane, who have both suffered from the issue in the past 12 months. More Australians (2.8 million) report suffering anxiety, up from 1.5 million in 2008.
John and Jane have been physically sick a lot as well, but no more than in other years. The average Australian adult now suffers from 11 illnesses or conditions in an average year, according to Roy Morgan.