DOCTORS want regional and rural Queenslanders - especially the rounder among us - to do more to lose weight.

The Australian Medical Association Queensland is taking the issue so seriously, it has launched a video campaign.

AMAQ President Dr Shaun Rudd said rural and regional Queenslanders were facing a burgeoning obesity epidemic.

"On average, 67 per cent of regional Queenslanders are overweight or obese," Dr Rudd said.

"The statistics are even higher around Townsville and Mackay regions with 75% overweight or obese.  That's 226,000 adults carrying too much weight.

Dr Rudd said for Queenslanders outside the cities, life expectancy fell away as obesity-related diseases went up.
"Heart disease accounts for a third of the high male death rates outside cities," he 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 and at
•        31% greater risk of suffering a stroke than their city cousins.

Dr Rudd said the AMA Queensland video campaign - Lighten Your Load - should encourage regional communities to take up the war on wobble.

Dr Rudd said the primary cause of early death and disability in Queensland was simply weighing too much.

"It is estimated obesity directly costs Australia's health system around $2 billion per year and people who are obese face health care costs that are 30 per cent higher than those with healthy body weights," he said.

"Keeping fit and healthy doesn't have to be complicated or expensive and rural Queenslanders are certainly resourceful enough to come up with fun ways to get fit.

"Our regions have an extraordinary fighting spirit so there's no reason we can't turn the Sunshine State into the healthiest state in the nation."

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