Seven in 10 Wagga residents are fat or obese and one in four drink too much.
Latest health statistics in Australia’s Health Tracker, developed by Victoria University, shows a staggering 69.3 per cent of adults in the Wagga region are overweight or obese.
According to the national health report card, Wagga is the 13th fattest local government area in the state, behind the likes of Scone and Oberon.
Wagga has hefty neighbours, as suggested by the percentage of residents who are overweight or obese in Leeton and Narrandera (68.9 per cent), Tamubarumba and Tumut (68.4 per cent), and Griffith (67.8 per cent).
Wagga residents 15 years and older have claimed 18th spot on the ranking of the state’s heaviest drinkers, with 24.5 per cent confessing to indulging in more than two standard drinks a day on average.
However, Wagga residents are less likely to spark up a cigarette than people in neighbouring towns, despite being some 40 per cent more likely to smoke than inner-city Sydneysiders.
Leeton and Narrandera boasts the most adults craving a cigarette at a rate of 23.2 per cent of the adult population, followed by Cootamundra, Gundagai, Junee and Temora (20.1 per cent); Tumbarumba and Tumut (20 per cent); Griffith (19.7 per cent); and Wagga (16.9 per cent).
Leeton and Narrandera also suffers from the highest rate of diabetics aged between 25 and 64 (5.4 per cent), followed by Wagga (4.6 per cent); Griffith (4.5 per cent); and Tumbarumba and Tumut (4.5 per cent).
Kooringal Medical Centre GP Marietjie van der Merwe said Wagga residents need to forget about fad diets and schedule two alcohol-free days every week.
“It is advised to do 150 minutes a week of physical activity just to stay healthy and that’s not even to lose weight,” Dr van der Merwe said.
“We're eating too much and the wrong things; and trying to follow one of 10,000 new popular diets like Paleo, 5-2, and high protein.
“A balanced diet is most important, which means one half of your plate should be vegetables cooked in a healthy way like steaming, one quarter should be protein like lean meat, and one quarter should be carbs like bread, pasta, rice, potato or noodles.”
Dr van der Merwe said it’s hard to butt out, but stressed cigarettes were deadly.
“Smoking is one of the biggest causes of heart disease,” she said.