A new study has revealed the world is the fattest it’s ever been.

The Lancet study revealed global obesity has increased by 167 per cent since 1975, compared to a 35 per cent drop in the number of underweight people.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift says Australia is among the developed countries worst affected.

“The average body mass index in Australia is now in the overweight range of 25-29.9 for both women (26.8) and men (27.5), well above the healthy BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9,” she says.

“This is in large part due to excess intake of kilojoules, with evidence suggesting the consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks has increased by 30 per cent over the past 10 years in Australia.”

Katie says if this increase continues 37 per cent of Australian women and 37.8 per cent of men will be obese by 2025.

Currently, nearly 13 per cent of the global population are obese – that’s 641 million people – compared to around nine per cent who are underweight.

Katie says these stats are a wake-up call, highlighting the rapid acceleration of obesity in Australia and globally.

“Of significant concern, overweight and obesity is a key factor for cancer and other chronic diseases,” she says.

“These figures again show the obesity crisis is ballooning out of control – we need to do more to ensure all Australians live their healthiest and happiest lives possible.”

“Along with all of us taking personal responsibility to ensure a healthy diets, community organisations and Governments have a role to play in reversing these trends.”

Last month, Cancer Council Queensland urged Federal and State Governments to examine a range of strategies to arrest Australia’s burgeoning obesity crisis.

Some of the strategies included following the UK’s lead to tax soft drinks, banning soft drinks from vending machines and the marketing of soft drinks to children.

Katie says the World Health Organisation recommends limiting sugar consumption from both food and drinks to no more than six teaspoons a day for optimum health.

“Unfortunately not enough Queenslanders are offsetting extra kilojoules from unhealthy food and drink choices with adequate exercise, resulting in overweight and obesity,” she says.

“Regular exercise and a healthy low-sugar diet is key to maintaining health and happiness = we need to do all we can to ensure this is as easy as possible for all Australians.”

For more information about Cancer Council Queensland and living a healthy life, visit www.cancerqld.org.au