National Health Survey: first results
In December 2015. the Australia Bureau of Statistics' National Health Survey focused on rates of obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption among Australians. (Vision supplied by abs.gov.au)
Let's face it Australia: we are fat. A quarter of Australian children are overweight, and with two-thirds of Australian adults in the same category, statistics show we are an obese nation that's getting bigger.
Recent studies suggest obesity is due to emotional eating. Others opine it's our sugar intake. But what about saturated fats? No wait – it's because of all the junk food advertisements.
Sure, it's a dose of this and a dose of that, but here are the ultimate reasons Australia's future is looking fatter.
1. We want it now
We live in a 'now' culture. Pizza, sex and dating, information, goods and services, entertainment - we want everything to be available right now. We start weight loss plans on the first of the month, and we expect results: now. Lifestyle change is hard, and we can't have health and weight loss now. Patience and dedication is paramount, or obesity is permanent.
2. We don't want it enough
Australians work hard; there's no doubting that. But we forget that our bodies are our business. Being healthy is hard work. We don't have a healthy plan. We don't execute a weight loss strategy. Simply, we do not work hard enough at our health. It takes sweating, swearing, and sacrifice and many Australians are falling short.
3. We drink too much
Regardless of what you think about Sydney's lockout laws, we can't deny that many Australians drink too much. Excess boozing leads to increased calorie consumption and other health dramas, with the resulting hangover replacing gym visits with power eating. Even if we're not bingeing, we must learn new ways to relax without the sneaky wines. Walk the dog. Meditate. Hike. Read. Redirect energy in order to ease up on the sauce.
4. We don't exercise
The theory that "weight loss is 80 per cent food, 20 per cent fitness" only does one thing – it displaces the importance of exercise in our lives. Exercise encourages weight loss, and a body that moves wants healthy fuel. Yet the ABS reports over 70 per cent of Australian adults do little to no exercise. The diet industry is scamming you to think it's their supplements, or their food plan that works – surely we know what works by now? Move your body with intensity.
5. We are confused
Paleo. Quitting sugar. Joining Weight Watchers. Starting the 5:2 Diet. And the rest. There are so many choices, so much consumer confusion. But it's your body. Do the research and figure out a healthy plan to suit your lifestyle. Start with fresh fish, vegetables, water, exercise, and cutting out processed junk – it's that simple.
6. We are afraid of change
Extreme change is difficult to take. We fear change, so bad habits become a lifestyle. That fear is ruining us. We are nothing without our health – the cars, holidays, big screen TVs, and family fun all ends when you have a stroke. You're afraid? Great. Get nervous, produce adrenaline, and exercise with more intensity.
7. We are waiting
We wait for an easy diet or pill that will whisk the fat away. I'm sorry to inform you – it's not going to happen. While we wait for a pill, the Queen's former doctor, Sir Richard Thompson, is calling for an inquiry into pharmaceutical companies putting profits ahead of patients' health. The cure for obesity has been around for hundreds of years. Eat less. Eat healthily. Drink water. Move your body.
8. We all want more
More money, more houses, more television, more cars, and more stuff. Well, more steak with more fizzy drink finished with more dessert is not the cure. When it comes to food on the plate, my motto is this: more kills. Learn to live with less.
9. We are too close to America
Australia used to be an island so far away, but technology now makes us all neighbours. Excess on the plate has become the American/Aussie standard. I worry when a newly opened burger joint's comparison to America's Shake Shack causes them to run out of food one week after opening. American burgers have moved from food trend to a food group, and America's influence is hurting Australia's health.
10. We don't see the signs
We are absent many days from work with hangovers, gout, and dreadful sessions on the toilet. That's health knocking on our door. If we don't change, bad health kicks the door down with cancer or another major ailment. Know your body, read the signs, and change for the better.
If some of the above strikes a nerve, well, that brings up a bonus point:
We are too sensitive
Being unhealthy is painful. I know this personally, but I also know about change. Being overweight sucks; being slim, healthy, and fit is a better way of life. Sometimes it takes some harsh words from somebody else, so I offer them here (with a hug). Then it takes movement, healthy eating, patience, and commitment by you.
Obesity is the world's cancer. I do wonder why it isn't talked about more in the news. Why aren't politicians doing more? All signs point to future healthcare spending stretched further than the average waistband at Maccas.
Forget the government. Ultimately, it's up to you. Junk food or jog? The next move is yours.
Why do you think Australians are struggling with the obesity crisis? Let us know in the comment section.
Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his 'Cut The BS' diet, and champions a charity weight-loss event, Droptober.