Two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese – this is rising and will increase to 70% by 2025. Being overweight or obese can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some cancers and can directly cause arthritis, sleep apnoea, reproductive difficulties and body image issues.
We all know being overweight or obese is not good, but how do we fix this trend? There is discussion and initiatives at the policy and health system level, but we also need to act at a community and individual level.
Some evidence-based strategies to combat the rise of overweight and obesity:
- Breast feed babies – 15-20% less likely to become obese
- Create healthy habits for kids – 5 serves of fruit/vegetables daily, water instead of sugary drinks, an hour of exercise daily, reduced screen time to less than an hour per day
- Eat well in adulthood – avoid snacks, consume whole grain foods rather than processed foods, moderate intake or portion sizes to ensure adequate daily activity (60 mins of aerobic exercise)
- Reinforcing weight loss – find support network (twice as likely to keep weight off if well supported), maintain non-rigourous walking or stairs (still beneficial) and beware of any creep back to old habits (such as using food to relieve stress)
- Lose weight in small increments – avoid fad or crash diets and instead concentrate on sustainable lifestyle changes
Some really helpful links are on the Health Department website, including dietary guidelines, exercise guidelines and presentations from experts in this field:
https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/Overweight-and-Obesity . Also, chat to your Osana GP for more information if you are keen to lose weight – there are medical and surgical interventions available.
Source – Obesity Australia – A National Epidemic and its Impact on Australia, ABS National Health Survey