Taking action to be a healthy weight should be a daily task for people across the Wheatbelt. Currently three in four people carry more weight than is healthy and it’s time to make a change. Why is it so hard?
We only need to regularly overeat (or drink) a little over a number of years to put on quite a lot of weight. Most people don’t get the opportunity to be active during the day as part of their work – we drive to work we sit at desks, in trucks, on tractors and we drive home. Sometimes we fit in some exercise, but not enough to offset the food we eat, especially as high fat junk foods and sugary soft drinks are available and heavily promoted at every opportunity. All of this means that on average people gain about 4 kilograms over 10 year without really noticing.
Why is it so important?
It’s not about getting the perfect beach body. It’s about stacking the odds against chronic disease and cancer.
Many people know that diabetes is linked with being overweight but it’s less well known that carrying too much weight can lead to a number of cancers too. These include bowel, prostate, oesophageal (food pipe), kidney, gallbladder, post-menopausal breast and post-menopausal uterine (womb) cancer.
Whatever your shape or size, taking action to be a healthy weight is something every person is encouraged to do throughout life.
How do I know if I’m a healthy weight?
Body Mass Index or BMI is a measure of height and weight that can be used to get an idea of how your weight is tracking. The aim is to be in the healthy BMI range (18.5 to 25 kg/m2). To find out your BMI use the LiveLighter ‘calculate your risk’ tool http://livelighter.com.au/tools-and-resources/calculate-your-risk
How do I stay a healthy weight?
Avoid fad diets. Some may help you to lose weight but they are short term fixes that are hard to keep up and often exclude foods that you need to stay healthy and have enough energy to get through the day. For most people the only recommended ‘diet’ is to choose healthy food and drinks from across the five food groups and limit high fat foods, added sugar foods with low fibre and avoid sugary drinks. Use the Eat for Health ‘Average Recommended Number of Serves Calculator’ to find out how much you should be eating http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/node/add/calculator-servings
Get moving! For our physical and mental health and wellbeing we should be active on most, if not all, days every week. The national recommendation is to do 2½ to 5 hours of moderate activity over a week so this is about 20 to 45 minutes every day of any activity that raises your heart rate a little and makes you warm. If you prefer vigorous exercise 10 to 20 minutes a day is recommended. But remember doing any physical activity is better than doing none so it’s fine to start small and build up the amount you do.
- Sit less
- Walk more
- Eat more vegetables and fibre
- Drink water