South Burnett has a weight problem.
South Burnett has a weight problem.

New research shows high rates of obesity in South Burnett

WEIGHT a minute - there's more than 14,000 overweight and obese people living on the South Burnett.

New University of Adelaide research shows 3520 men and 3788 women living in the South Burnett Regional Council area are obese while 4316 men and 2857 women are overweight.

That adds up to a whopping 14,481, or 44.9%, of the region's 32,285 residents but below the national average of 62% of all Australians who are overweight or obese.

Weight-related health problems cost the nation's hospital system about $4 billion each year, the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study found.

The shocking statistics follow the release of a study which found losing weight slowly was the only way to keep the pounds off.

The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology this month published a report that found people who lost the kilos rapidly regained them faster than those who shed weight over a longer period.

Kingaroy dietician and nutritionist Berneice Hilly said the first step towards weight loss should be taken by seeing a doctor.

"It is important to put their weight into perspective with regards to their overall health and a GP is best placed to do this," she said.

"Once they're looking to make changes to their lifestyle the support of an accredited practising dietician can ensure they make the right changes for positive outcomes.

Ms Hilly said the body mass index used to measure healthy and unhealthy weight ranges is not a good indicator in isolation, but must be used in the context of overall health.

"In saying this, there is strong evidence supporting a 5-10% reduction in weight in those who are overweight or obese to improve risk factors for chronic diseases such as type two diabetes, heart diseases and some cancers," she said.

CQ University nutritionist Dr Susan Williams said small steps made a big difference.

"We should be losing weight slowly," Dr Williams said.

Check your body mass index at www.heart foundation.org.au.