ALARMING new statistics show that 69% of Central Queenslanders are overweight or obese.
Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Shaun Rudd said rural and regional Queenslanders were facing a burgeoning obesity epidemic.
On average, 67% of regional Queenslanders are overweight or obese.
"The statistics are even higher around Townsville and Mackay regions with 75% overweight or obese," Dr Rudd said.
"In Central Queensland, 69% of the population or 107,000 people are overweight or obese."
A new video campaign - Lighten Your Load - has been launched in the wake of the alarming statistics.
Dr Rudd said it should encourage regional communities to take up the war on the wobble, given that high body mass was now the leading cause of premature death and disability in Queensland.
Obesity-related diseases increased and life expectancy dropped for Queenslanders living away from urban areas, with men more at risk than women.
"Heart disease accounts for a third of the high male death rates outside cities," Dr Rudd said.
"These deadly conditions are all associated with preventable obesity."
- Men aged 45-65 who live in a regional area are:
- 30% more likely to smoke;
- up to 1.5 times as likely to drink heavily;
- 44% more likely to die of heart disease;
- at 31% greater risk of suffering a stroke than their city cousins.