Fitness program could help Gladstone battle the bulge

CENTRAL Queenslanders are some of the fattest people in Australia, according to National Health Performance Authority data.

The 2011-12 Overweight and Obesity rates report found that the obesity rate in central Queensland (39%) was greater than Townsville-Mackay (38%) and Country North SA (31%).

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The NHPA data also found central Queensland had the second highest combined-obesity and overweight rate (69%) in rural areas.

But Gladstone Regional Council Mayor Gail Sellers said the town didn't have an obesity problem.

"I don't think there's an obesity problem in Gladstone," Cr Sellers said.

"If you look at the number of people who play sport in Gladstone, the number of gyms, the number of people who you see walking, people are more health conscious than they have ever been in their lives."

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It comes despite Cr Sellers throwing her support behind bringing a new Central Queensland Medicare Local fitness challenge to Gladstone.

Following the success of Spring Classic in Rockhampton, CQML is looking to launch Couch to Classic in Gladstone next year.

The 12-week body challenge will help 80 people improve their fitness ahead of the annual Botanic to Bridge fun run in August.

Cr Sellers said she'd written a letter of support to CQML to help deliver the program in town.

"If there's anything that we can do, and that I can do, to help people to be more active then I will," Cr Sellers said.

CQML is now looking to secure funding for the event.

CQML board chair Bruce Elliot said obesity was not only a problem in Gladstone, but a nation-wide problem.

"Programs like the Couch to Classic are a great opportunity to directly help a large group of people in improving their exercise and eating habits," Mr Elliot said.

"It's also a great platform for promoting exercise and healthy eating."

The NHPA data measures Medicare Local areas across the country.

Gladstone, along with Rockhampton, Central Highlands and Emerald, fall within the Central Queensland Medicare Local (CQML) catchment.

Fat facts:

  • Worried about whether you're overweight or obese? Doctors measure your weight through a Body Mass Index (BMI).
  • BMI is measured by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared.
  • Overweight: 25-30 BMI Obese: 30 BMI Morbidly Obese: 35+ BMI


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