Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Brooke Wil­liamson

Baby Boomers have seen lots of health trends come and go dur­ing their life­time. Re­mem­ber the grape­fruit diet, the cab­bage soup diet or Pri­tikin? And now we have pa­leo, nu­tri­tional cleans­ing, the 5:2 diet as well a host of su­per­foods such as al­mond milk, quinoa, kom­bucha and kale touted as the sil­ver bul­let to health. Let’s face it, we need it. Aus­tralia is in bad shape when it comes to obe­sity as the third fat­test na­tion per capita in the world.

Peo­ple are get­ting fat­ter younger, which puts an enor­mous strain on the health bud­get. But it’s not just about keep­ing a close eye on the scales.

In­stead, the fo­cus is on peo­ple chang­ing their lifestyles in or­der to achieve and main­tain a healthy weight, rather than pur­su­ing an un­sus­tain­able fad diet.

We re­alise we have a prob­lem and it’s not like we’re not try­ing. Ac­cord­ing to IBISWorld, Aus­tralians spent ap­prox­i­mately $6.6 bil­lion on health and weight loss in 2013-2014.

We also spend $1.31 bil­lion an­nu­ally on the fit­ness in­dus­try and $1.3 bil­lion on cos­metic and anti-age­ing beauty treat­ments. So what is the an­swer? Of course it comes down to ed­u­ca­tion and in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­bil­ity.

NSW Health has launched a cam­paign called “Make Healthy Nor­mal”, a ser­vice that aims to help peo­ple get on track with sen­si­ble nu­tri­tion and ex­er­cise and pre­vent con­di­tions such as heart dis­ease, di­a­betes and joint pain that ac­com­pany obe­sity.

Health Min­is­ter Jil­lian Skinner says: “Ev­i­dence shows that, for over­weight peo­ple, ev­ery kilo­gram of ex­cess weight lost brings long-term ben­e­fits.

“Take di­a­betes: a five per cent weight loss leads to 40-60 per cent less chance of de­vel­op­ing di­a­betes over three years.

“Over­weight and obe­sity costs the NSW econ­omy around $19 bil­lion an­nu­ally, while chronic dis­ease is es­ti­mated to be re­spon­si­ble for 80 per cent of the to­tal bur­den of dis­ease in Aus­tralia.”

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