Obesity is associated with adverse health consequences throughout life. Monitoring obesity trends is important to plan and implement public heath interventions adapted to specific target groups. We aimed to analyze the development of obesity prevalence in the Austrian population using data from the most recent representative Austrian Health Interview Surveys.
The three cross-sectional Austrian health interview surveys from 2006/2007, 2014 and 2019 were used (n = 45,707). Data correction for self-reported body mass index (BMI) was applied. Sex, age, education level, employment status, country of birth, urbanization, and family status were used as sociodemographic factors. Logistic regression models were applied.
Prevalence of obesity increased in both sexes in the study period (men 13.7% to 20.0%, women 15.2% to 17.8%, p < 0.001). Adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval [CI]) for the increase in obesity prevalence was 1.47 (95% CI: 1.38–1.56). In men, obesity prevalence almost doubled from 2006/2007 to 2019 in subgroups of 15–29-year-olds (4.8% to 9.0%), unemployed (13.5% to 27.6%), men born in non-EU/non-EFTA countries (13.9% to 26.2%), and not being in a relationship (8.1% to 15.4%). In women, the largest increase was found in subgroups of 30–64-year-olds (15.8% to 18.7%), women born in non-EU/non-EFTA countries (19.9% to 22.8%) and in women living in the federal capital Vienna (16.5% to 19.9%).
Obesity prevalence in the Austrian population continues to rise significantly. We identified distinct subgroups with a fast-growing obesity prevalence in recent years, emphasizing the importance of regular long-term data collection as a basis for sustainable and target group-specific action planning.