Severe obesity and risky drinking have risen, and smoking has continued its gradual decline, according to the latest survey results from the Ministry of Health.

The proportion of adults whose body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40 has increased from 3.4 per cent in 2006/07, to 5.3 per cent in 2014/15, the ministry says in its annual update of key results of the New Zealand Health Survey, published online today.

The overall adult obesity rate, including the severely obese, is 31 per cent, the same rate in 2012/13, although this is 4 percentage points higher than in 2006/07.

"The smoking rate is decreasing slowly," the ministry said. "High smoking rates persist in Maori and Pacific adults and in adults living in the most deprived areas."


The daily-smoking rate is 15 per cent, down fractionally from 15.5 per cent in 2013/14, and down by a greater amount since 2006/07, when the rate was 18.3 per cent.

"Hazardous drinking rates have risen again, returning to the 2006/07 rate."

The proportion who took part in hazardous drinking of alcohol was 17.7 per cent in 2014/15, up from 14.9 per cent in 2011/12.