Australia: A Nation of Sad Fatties.
A startling new report confirms widely held suspicions that Australia is a nation of miserable, fat bastards.
Australia’s obesity crisis is far worse than experts thought, with new evidence showing 40 per cent of adults are dangerously fat.
According to the Health at a Glance 2013 shows that more than 28 per cent of Australians are obese, compared to just under 25 per cent in Britain.
To get to the heart of the matter, we peeled back the layers of flab and spoke to Professor of Health Policy at Curtin University Mike Daube.
“We aren’t just fat,” Professor Daube said. ”We are on the medal podium – one of the fattest countries in the world. We have a top-class health system, we are smoking less, we eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and our life expectancy is now around 82 – but much of this progress is being put at risk because of our dismal failure to deal with obesity.”
The report also found that Australians are given more cholesterol medication, known as statins, than anywhere else in the OECD. Prescribing rates were 40 per cent above average, while anti-blood pressure medication use is below average.
Australia is also the second-highest prescriber of anti-depressant medication – a rate that has doubled over the past decade.
So why are we all so fuckin’ miserable? We fought back the tears and spoke to Iain McGregor, Professor of Psychopharmacology at the University of Sydney. Professor McGregor said the sharp rise in anti-depressant use showed “something serious about the fabric of our society.”
“Anti-depressants are given out like candy, but they are not innocuous,” Professor McGregor said.
“We all know someone whose life has been saved or turned around by medication, but if you have mild or moderate depression, or have had a couple of nasty life events, generally the data says you are better off seeing a psychologist.”
Despite these high prescribing rates, the most mentally unwell – those hospitalised with schizophrenia and bipolar conditions – had worse outcomes, being more likely to bounce in and out of emergency care.
The Bits Left Behind
The report also found that Australia Australia has the third-highest rate in the developed world of foreign objects being left in people after surgery.
On average, we have nine cases of foreign objects left in behind in patients’ bodies after surgery for every 100,000 people who leave hospital.
This compares to an average of five in other parts of the world, although it was that noted Australia might just have a better method of reporting incidents.