Topics:  australian bureau of statistics, health

Country folk party hard, die young

Us country folk; we’re fatter, smoke more and drink more than city slickers, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Us country folk; we’re fatter, smoke more and drink more than city slickers, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Georja Ryan

WE'RE fat, we're drunk and, according to a study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we smoke too much, too.

The ABS report found people who lived in the country were more overweight than those in major cities, drank more alcohol and were more likely to take up smoking, and Warwick naturopath Nadia Shaw agreed.

"From my observations, there is a lot more alcoholism in the country because there are fewer things to do," Mrs Shaw said.

While we may not have as many facilities to keep us entertained as Brisbane or Sydney, it seems we favour the pub as our destination of choice when meeting friends.

"They (country people) tend to get together and party a bit more," Mrs Shaw said.

"There are also less resources for men to access (assistance for domestic violence, depression etc) and turning to alcohol is easy."

The report said country people were 13% more likely to be overweight or obese than those in the city and Mrs Shaw said it was because of the differing culture.

"There is less of a body image culture (in the country) which can be a positive thing," she said.

"It's more acceptable (to be larger) and less frowned-upon than in the city.

"Especially in retail - there are a lot of retail jobs in the city and like the media keeps saying, it's harder for overweight people to find work."

While it's convenient to have eye-fillets on our doorstep, Mrs Shaw said it was over-indulging in red meat which could lead to obesity, and country people were the most likely offenders.

"There is a big farming culture which generally means they eat more red meat which can lead to weight issues," she said.

The ABS report said people aged 15 years and over who lived outside major cities were 30% more likely to be a daily smoker than those in the city.

Country women were 50% more inclined to take up the habit than city women, with country women trumping men in smoker statistics.

So we are failing on all fronts against our city rivals, what about life expectancy?

Yes, we lose again; the estimated life expectancy of someone living in the country is four years less than someone in the city.

Must be all that partying we seem to be so good at.

Country v City

  • Country peoples' life expectancy is generally four years younger than city people.
  • We're 30% more likely to take up smoking.
  • We do eat more veggies than city folk.
  • But, we eat more meat which increases obesity.
  • We like to party more - and what's a country party without a keg or ten?


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