Fat-fight: why weight-loss matters to all Australians

We live in an age of diplomacy, where people are afraid to say anything that may hurt someone else’s feelings. While tact is important, “telling it how it is” can sometimes be the better path.

And so, the following message is for all Australians: we are fat.

According to the most recent National Health Survey (2014-15), 63.4 per cent of Australian adults are overweight or obese, marking a seven per cent increase from 20 years ago. It’s an epidemic that’s also affecting our children, with 27.4 per cent of five to 17-year-olds either overweight or obese.

But wait, there’s more.

study by the University of Sydney last year predicts Australia’s obesity rate spiking another seven per cent by 2025.

In other words, we’re only going to get fatter . . . faster.

It’s bad news for women especially, with researchers suggesting one in six females will be severely obese by 2025, as opposed to one in 10 men.

The dangers of obesity go far beyond appearances. Excess weight is a major contributor to several non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

There’s little use in sugar-coating the issue of obesity in this country. It’s an epidemic, yet not an insurmountable one. Here are a few basic steps to get us on the right track.

Eat well

We are what we eat. If we consume an excessive amount of unhealthy food and drink, we’re going to put on an unhealthy amount of excess weight. A well-balanced diet, consisting of vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, whole grains and plenty of water, is an essential part of finding and maintaining a healthy weight.

Avoid processed foods and eat as natural as possible. The way God made our food is as good as it gets!

Move well

Physical activity plays a key part in losing weight and maintaining good overall health. Research shows exercise is also good for our minds and thinking skills.

Yet the Australian way of life is becoming more sedentary. According to the National Health Survey (2011-12), the majority of Australian adults (60 per cent) are doing less than the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

To lose weight and keep it off, we need to get moving. Consider taking a walk during lunch, or instead of watching your favourite sport on TV, why not head out the door and give it a go!

Sleep well

To lose weight, we need to go to bed. That may sound oxymoronic—after all, we can’t eat and exercise in our sleep—but getting the recommended eight hours of shuteye a night is a key part to burning fat and preventing disease. Research also shows a lack of sleep has the potential to take years off our lives.

If you’re a night owl and naturally stay up late, why not set an alarm to remind you to go to bed. If it works for the morning, it can work at night.

Eat well, move well, sleep well. Three things that work best as a package. A balanced diet enables us to be physically active, which in turn leads to better rest. A good night’s sleep then refreshes us to make better decisions about what we eat the next day.

Our fat fight in Australia is under-weigh. Won’t you join us?

—Linden Chuang

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