Tack­ling the big is­sues


Comment News (Gosnells) - - News - Jes­sica War­riner

SEVILLE Grove, Kelm­scott and Ar­madale are tip­ping the scales, with more than twothirds of res­i­dents es­ti­mated to be over­weight or obese.

Ac­cord­ing to Aus­tralian Health Pol­icy Col­lab­o­ra­tion (AHPC) data, 71.2 per cent of Seville Grove res­i­dents, 66.7 per cent of Camillo, Cham­pion Lakes and Kelm­scott res­i­dents and 70 per cent of Ar­madale, Wun­gong and Brook­dale res­i­dents are es­ti­mated to be over­weight or obese.

This puts the ar­eas into the top 15 big­gest sub­urbs in Perth, with Seville Grove and Ar­madale tak­ing out the top two spots re­spec­tively.

Curtin Uni­ver­sity lec­turer Kyla Rin­grose, from the Depart­ment of Nu­tri­tion, Di­etet­ics and Food Tech­nol­ogy, said car­ry­ing ex­ces­sive weight in­creased the risk of health prob­lems such as di­a­betes, heart dis­ease and cancer.

“I think high num­bers of over­weight and obese adults re­flect changes in our en­vi­ron­ment,” Dr Rin­grose said.

“We know that our en­vi­ron­ment makes it easy for us to eat too much and move too lit­tle. It’s easy to sit all day at work, then sit in front of the screen at night, with­out mak­ing time for phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

“Peo­ple have to make a con­scious ef­fort to make healthy choices.”

Dr Rin­grose said both

adults and chil­dren were sus­cep­ti­ble to poor body image or low self-es­teem re­lated to their weight, which could make them want to stop par­tic­i­pat­ing in ac­tiv­i­ties al­to­gether.

Fig­ures from the same AHPC study show more than two in three lo­cals have done lit­tle to no ex­er­cise in the pre­vi­ous week.

Heart Foun­da­tion WA nu­tri­tion man­ager Emma Groves said the foun­da­tion was con­cerned about an en­vi­ron­ment sat­u­rated by con­ve­nient, un­healthy foods.

“You drive to work or to school and go past fast food places with deals, you go in to pay your fuel and you’re sur­rounded by drinks and choco­lates;

it’s eas­ier to find a vend­ing ma­chine than it is to find a drink­ing foun­tain,” she said.

She rec­om­mended re­duc­ing por­tion sizes or shar­ing serves of un­healthy meals and tak­ing any op­por­tu­nity to move more dur­ing the day.

“Look for ways in which you can move in your nor­mal day: tak­ing the stairs, walk­ing be­tween meet­ings, walk­ing or cy­cling to school,” she said.

Ar­madale Mayor Henry Zelones said the is­sue had been the sub­ject of much dis­cus­sion in the com­mu­nity since the statis­tics were re­leased.

“My first re­sponse is that the com­mu­nity af­fected by these statis­tics should be tak­ing

greater no­tice of the health is­sues in­volved,” he said.

“In the case of school age chil­dren, par­ents need to be more re­spon­sive, fol­lowed by the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem which has the most con­tact with the chil­dren of those fam­i­lies.”

Mr Zelones said the City was one of the first to em­ploy a public health and well­be­ing plan and a ded­i­cated health and well­be­ing of­fi­cer.

The plan in­cludes strate­gies to in­crease op­por­tu­ni­ties and sup­port for res­i­dents to lead healthy lives, in­clud­ing manag­ing the Ar­madale Arena, soon-to-be-re­opened Ar­madale Aquatic Cen­tre, and free ac­tiv­ity pro­grams.

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