A recently released global study has shown an alarming insight into Australian’s health habits and attitudes towards wellbeing and healthcare.
The Bupa Health Pulse study, that surveyed more than 14,500 people across 13 countries, has revealed that while Australians feel relatively positive about their health, the reality is that half of them are overweight or obese.
What’s more, Australia’s aren’t doing enough with regards to their diet or amount of exercise they undertake to make the necessary changes to their waistline.
More than half of Australians do no strenuous physical activity per week citing lack of time due to work and family commitments as the key barriers. Three in four Aussie love a drink with eight percent reaching for the bottle every day – the highest amount across all countries.
Also looking at the health legacy we are leaving behind, the study focussed on the impact older generations can have on children’s health. One in 10 parents admitted to never speaking to their children about health which is a scary statistic seeing 71 percent say that when it comes to imparting health messages on kids, parents should be responsible.
So now that we know this, what changes can we make to improve our health? Dr Paul Bates, Bupa’s chief medical officer, shares his tips: Make the switch:
Making better food choices doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on flavour. Swap a bowl of ice-cream and topping for a bowl of low-fat yoghurt with frozen berries or a creamy salad dressing for lime juice and herbs or balsamic vinegar.
If you find it hard to choose healthier options in the supermarket, download the FoodSwitch
app which allows you to scan the barcode of packaged foods and receive immediate, easy-to-understand nutritional advice and see healthier choices. Be a good role model:
Bring good exercise and dieting habits into the family home. If you like to workout and eat healthy foods chances are this will rub off onto your kids. Consider incorporating a family walk into your day after work and school, or agree to all take up a new sport or active hobby. All in moderation:
A healthy diet isn’t about people going to extremes and just eating carrot sticks. In actual fact, it’s fine for people to enjoy some treats in moderation. But that’s the key; people should only be having treats occasionally. Embrace incidental exercise:
Get off the train or bus one stop early and walk, and take the stairs instead of the lift. Make it a social event:
Get together with a friend to go walking a few mornings or evenings each week, or join a walking group. Just half an hour of brisk walking three days a week can have health benefits. Take notes:
Keep a food diary for a week, to help you monitor how much of each food group you’re eating every day so you can make changes where you need to. Find the right balance:
The bulk of a person’s diet should be made up of nutritious foods like vegetables and fruit, lean meat, fish and chicken, and wholegrain cereals like rice, noodles, bread and pasta, with sweets and processed products rarely consumed Be organised:
Plan your meals for the week and go to the supermarket to pick up all of the ingredients in one shop. Smell the roses:
Consider growing your own veggies – tending to a garden might also help you to stay away from the couch Take baby steps:
Reduce the amount of sugar you have in your coffee each day by half a teaspoon over a few weeks, so you get used to it.