Obesity Trends

The ABS reports that the number of adults classified as obese or overweight has increased from 56% in 1995 to 61% in 2007-08. Globally, 2.8 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. In 2008, over one-third of adults over 20 years of age in Australia were overweight.[1] [2]

Obesity is a growing problem in all westernised nations. In the United States the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents aged 2-19 years resides at about 17%.[3] In contrast, more than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of adults in the United States are obese.[4]

These figures could increase further without changes to lifestyles and given the current trends in Australia and other western countries. It could be argued that the shift in demographics and trend towards unhealthy eating habits has been recognised within the updated 2010 version of AS 3745 which includes those people that are “easily fatigued, easily experience acute anxiety or those that easily experience extreme confusion” under the heading ‘Occupants and visitors with a disability’ (Clause 4.2.11). By definition, this could include those people who have a health issue such as obesity, women in the later stages of pregnancy, those less fit, or the elderly, as well as younger children.[5]

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics 2010, 4102.0 – Australian Social Trends, March 2009, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features10March%202009, viewed 31 August 2015

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, 4102.0 – Australian Social Trends, March Quarter 2012, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features20Jun+2012, viewed 31 August 2015

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Childhood Obesity Facts http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html, viewed 28 August 2015

[4] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Adult Obesity Facts http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html, viewed 28 August 2015

[5] Australian Building Codes Board 2013, Directions Report on Egress for All Occupants pp. 17-18 http://www.abcb.gov.au/~/media/Files/Download%20Documents/Consultation/Other%20Consultation%20Documents/ABCB_Directions_Report_on_Egress_for_All_Occupants_2013_word.docx, viewed 31 August 2015

Buildings need exit and emergency signs to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. An Accessible Exit Sign Project Initiative.

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