Weighty mat­ter

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE -

NEW re­search by the Heart Foun­da­tion and Deakin Univer­sity has shown less than one in four Aus­tralians will be in a healthy weight range by 2031 if the cur­rent trends con­tinue.

RE­SEARCH by the Heart Foun­da­tion and Deakin Univer­sity re­veals if cur­rent weight trends con­tinue, less than one in four Aus­tralians will be a nor­mal healthy weight by 2031.

The re­search also found by 2031-32 more Aus­tralians will be obese, in­stead of over­weight or nor­mal, based on their BMI (Body Mass In­dex), with the av­er­age per­son set to be 5kg heav­ier in the same time­frame.

Na­tional Heart Foun­da­tion gen­eral man­ager of ad­vo­cacy Rohan Green­land said obe­sity and un­healthy di­ets had over­taken smok­ing as the lead­ing pre­ventable health bur­den.

It was also be­hind the surge in heart dis­ease and di­a­betes.

“It’s fine to en­joy spe­cial oc­ca­sions like Christ­mas Day, how­ever it is im­por­tant to make healthy diet choices ev­ery other day,” he said.

“The shift from a healthy bal­anced diet to one filled with an ever-in­creas­ing sup­ply of cheap, high-calo­rie foods is a recipe for poor health and one of the main driv­ers feed­ing our obe­sity cri­sis.”

Mr Green­land said with 35 per cent of Aus­tralians’ diet com­ing from dis­cre­tionary foods (don’t pro­vide the nec­es­sary nu­tri­ents), the obe­sity cri­sis was bla­tantly vis­i­ble.

“We need to face the re­al­ity that un­less ur­gent in­ter­ven­tions are made to curb our grow­ing waist­lines, Aus­tralia will be a coun­try plagued with poor heath and in­creased eco­nomic bur­den in terms of health fund­ing,” he said.

“Great im­prove­ments can be made through poli­cies de­signed to counter the prob­lem, such as ceas­ing junk food mar­ket­ing to chil­dren, in­tro­duc­ing a tax on sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages and su­per­charg­ing the na­tional food re­for­mu­la­tion pro­gram.

“Th­ese poli­cies and oth­ers are needed to bring our obe­sity cri­sis un­der con­trol and it needs to hap­pen now; we no longer have time on our side.”

The Heart Foun­da­tion has called on the Govern­ment to de­velop and im­ple­ment a com­pre­hen­sive na­tional obe­sity preven­tion strat­egy and Na­tional Phys­i­cal Ac­tiv­ity Ac­tion Plan to curb Aus­tralia’s grow­ing obe­sity cri­sis.

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