A new national health report has revealed that the Hunter is getting fatter, with 70 per cent of adults in the Hunter region now overweight or obese.
The National Health performance Authority report is the first in Australia to break down overweight and obesity rates by local areas and the figures for the Hunter are staggering.
The region has the second highest rate in New South Wales of heavy adults, with 373,000 people tipping the scales at overweight or obese.
It says just over a third of Hunter adults are obese, while 37 per cent are overweight.
The report found rates increased with lower socio-economic status and the further people lived from major cities.
Some of the country’s lowest rates were in Eastern Sydney, where just under half of all adults were overweight or obese.
The report shows a rapid increase in Australia’s overweight and obesity rates, which have jumped from 44 per cent of adults in 1989 to 63 per cent in 2011/12.
Australia now ranks seventh among developed countries for rates of obesity.
The report says obesity cost Australia’s health system an estimated $2 billion in 2008.