GETTING IN SHAPE
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.”