Work hard, play hard

New health sta­tis­tics re­veal Pil­bar­ians drink, smoke and ex­er­cise more than most of Aus­tralia. So how does that bode for our health and well­be­ing?

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr and Sophia Constantine

New fig­ures have laid bare our “work hard, play hard” at­ti­tude to life, with Pil­bara res­i­dents rat­ing above av­er­age on phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity de­spite be­ing among the heav­i­est drinkers and smok­ers in Aus­tralia.

The 2017 Aus­tralian Health Tracker Re­port, re­leased by the Aus­tralian Health Pol­icy Col­lab­o­ra­tion this month, re­vealed a range of con­cern­ing health sta­tis­tics in the Pil­bara, de­spite our per­ceived out­doors life­style.

Data com­piled showed more than 22.7 per cent of Kar­ratha res­i­dents con­sumed al­co­hol at a rate con­sid­ered to be risky, above the 18.2 per cent na­tional av­er­age.

It also re­vealed a high smok­ing rate of 17.7 per cent, well above the 12.8 per cent na­tional av­er­age.

De­spite our re­ported overindul­gence, City of Kar­ratha res­i­dents fared bet­ter when it comes to keep­ing in shape com­pared with the rest of the na­tion.

Some 58.6 per cent of re­spon­dents in Kar­ratha re­ported no or low ex­er­cise dur­ing the week of the sur­vey, plac­ing us in the most ac­tive of five brack­ets.

Red Rocks Fit­ness nu­tri­tion­ist April Butt said the Pil­bara’s work hard, play hard men­tal­ity was a big fac­tor in al­co­hol-re­lated health is­sues, in­clud­ing weight gain.

“Most peo­ple who come up to Kar­ratha come through our door be­cause they’ve gained an ex­tra 10kg,” she said.

“A lot of peo­ple are re­ally keen to ex­er­cise but some of them fall into that trap of think­ing if they ex­er­cise more they can still drink.

“It doesn’t have to be boot camp or weights, just get out and do some­thing you love and you will be more likely to stick to it.

“You’re al­ready eat­ing any­way so you don’t have to put in any ex­tra ef­fort to have a healthy diet, just change your foods around.”

Ms Butt said ex­er­cise had proven ben­e­fits for men­tal health and well­be­ing as well as phys­i­cal fit­ness.

A Kar­ratha Al­co­holics Anony­mous spokesman said de­spite the high drink­ing rate, there was only a small group of peo­ple seek­ing help.

“Peo­ple think it’s all shame and guilt but in ac­tual fact be­cause it’s a dis­ease, it’s not re­ally any­thing to be ashamed of,” he said.

“It can be fixed, there is a so­lu­tion, and in most cases they can’t do it by them­selves.”

He said oc­ca­sion­ally new peo­ple came to the Tues­day and Sun­day night ses­sions at the Sal­va­tion Army build­ing, but most lacked com­mit­ment or did not be­lieve they could fight the habit.

Health fig­ures were not avail­able in the Shires of East Pil­bara, Ash­bur­ton or Ex­mouth.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Wick­ham Wasps rugby league play­ers Tipi Te Rangi­haeata and Tekaha Sto­janovic.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Jan New­burn and April Butt from Red Rocks Fit­ness.

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