Re­gional obe­sity at higher lev­els

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS -

Obe­sity rates in re­gional ar­eas are pro­por­tion­ally higher than in met­ro­pol­i­tan ar­eas, ac­cord­ing to new find­ings, which has led lead­ing health or­gan­i­sa­tions to press the im­por­tance of nu­tri­tion for those liv­ing re­gion­ally.

The re­lease of a new Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Health and Wel­fare re­port last month, Nu­tri­tion Across the Life Stages, re­vealed higher rates of obe­sity in re­gional and re­mote ar­eas, with a 53 per cent rate of obe­sity in ma­jor cities, com­pared to 57 per cent in in­ner re­gional ar­eas and 61 per cent in outer re­gional and re­mote ar­eas.

The re­port also showed the quality of food and nu­tri­tion in­take was higher in cities, com­pared with those liv­ing in re­gional ar­eas, who were found to con­sume less food with grains, more food with added sugar, more sat­u­rated and trans fat, less fi­bre and more salt.

The Na­tional Ru­ral Health Al­liance chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Di­a­mond said the re­port could not be ig­nored.

“The AIHW re­port clearly shows the links be­tween poor di­ets and obe­sity and we are con­cerned it also shows that these prob­lems in­crease the fur­ther away from ma­jor met­ro­pol­i­tan cen­tres that peo­ple live,” he said.

Mr Di­a­mond noted sup­ply and af­ford­abil­ity in the most re­mote WA com­mu­ni­ties likely con­trib­uted to the fig­ures.

“Sup­ply and af­ford­abil­ity of fresh pro­duce ap­pear to be lim­it­ing fac­tors in di­etary quality,” he said.

“Lim­ited stocks of fruit and veg­eta­bles have been found in re­mote shops near indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties . . . and what is avail­able is ex­pen­sive.”

“Ad­di­tion­ally, lack of com­pe­ti­tion in these ar­eas ap­pears to be a fac­tor with price.”

Mr Di­a­mond said the fig­ures joined re­cent find­ings about the rise of chronic con­di­tions such as di­a­betes in re­mote and re­gional ar­eas in par­tic­u­lar.

Ac­cord­ing to the WA Coun­try Health Ser­vice, the rate of di­a­betes-re­lated hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tions in 2017 were 1.25 higher in the Pil­bara, 1.6 times higher in the Gold­fields and 3.2 times higher in the Kim­ber­ley.

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