Disadvantaged Canberrans are more likely to be obese, have diabetes, heart disease and to smoke than more advantaged people in the capital, new research has found.
In the most stark results, people in disadvantaged areas are more likely die much younger than those in wealthy areas.
The inner south of Canberra has the lowest rate of obesity, with just 20.6 per cent of adults considered obese, while Molonglo has the highest rate, with 38.4 per cent.
In areas considered most disadvantaged, 29.5 per cent of people are obese, while just 25.5 per cent of people in the least disadvantaged are obese.
People considered overweight or obese in the ACT has jumped to 64 per cent of adults, the highest its ever been, but still below the national rate of 67 per cent.
Diabetes, heart stroke and vascular disease are also more prevalent in more disadvantaged areas, but the suburbs with the highest rates of these conditions are perhaps unexpected.
The area labelled "Gungahlin - North" in the study, which includes suburbs Franklin and Harrison, has the highest rate of diabetes at 4.8 per cent.
The northern suburbs of Gungahlin, including Forde, Amaroo and Bonner, have the highest rate of heart, stroke and cardiovascular disease at 5.5 per cent.
It also shows that people in disadvantaged areas are more likely to be experiencing psychological distress. The area labelled "ACT - East/Hume/Kowen/Majura," which includes Oaks Estate, has the highest rate of psychological distress in the territory at 15.4 per cent.
The premature mortality rate in that area is also 52 per cent above the national average.
Researchers say these results show living with disadvantage is a causal factor in public health issues, and that a more holistic approach, not just a medical approach is needed.
"It really is about addressing disadvantage," said Professor John Glover from the Public Health Information Development Unit at Torrens University.
"We have a good social support system in many ways in Australia but there are some real areas where it falls down pretty badly, the unemployment benefit being one that it totally inadequate."
Professor Glover said the low rate of the unemployment payment, as well as rental allowance from the government falling behind increasing rents, is contributing to the disadvantage causing chronic illnesses.
The statistics show that in general the ACT is doing better than the rest of the country, and Professor Glover said the mix of social housing across the territory means the differences between suburbs are not as stark as in some other areas of Australia.
Professor Glover said he hoped the research would be used by federal and state governments, as well as local councils, to inform policy development.
Behind the headline data showed a stark divide, he said.
"For many of the statistics wealthy areas had half the average [prevalence of diseases] and disadvantages had twice the average in terms of outcomes," Professor Glover said.