24

Jun

What should be done about the levels of obesity in Australia?

Australia's Obesity EpidemicAs Kevin Rudd makes his exit after telling us all how good of a job he has done through a face full of tears, and Julia Gillard is sworn in, we can start to ask ourselves if we will see any changes here in Australia as a result.  Chances are not much will happen in between now and the election but definitely one thing I would like to see getting more attention as a personal trainer is the obesity epidemic and the ongoing health and fitness of our Nation.  Hopefully the changing of the guard will bring this issue more into public focus and we can start to address what I feel in one of the biggest challenges facing our Nation.

Now I hear a lot of comments in the media that we are now the fattest nation on earth.  We have taken the highly estemed mantle from the firm grasp of American’s, which is something I would not of thought the possible!  Now I’m not entirely sure how this is calculated as I didn’t include my weight around this time last year when I lodged my tax return, but none the less we are now number 1!  Something definitely not to be proud of.  What happened to the image of the bronzed Aussie down at the beach, or fit female tennis player, or even Lara Bingle tanned up on the ‘bloody’ beach in WA.  Will they all now need to make way for the image of Australia to be a pastie, obese kid with nothing but the fittest thumbs of all the kids of the develpoed nations from his years of play station mastery?

I hope not.  As our waistlines change so does that of our potential for sporting greatness and the ability of our health system to cope as these now obese teen and mid twenties age.  Another statement I have heard recently is that my generation (being a 26 year old myself), is quite possibly the first generation that may not out-live their parents…  So rather than us living on to see our parent bundled off into a nursing home before making their final journey onwards years after that, it might be our parents fare-welling us as we are hospitalized at at the ripe old age of 40 of a sever heart attack, or due to complications from diabetes as we have our legs amputated.

It the modern world to think that this is possible is appalling.  Each generation has laid down the foundation to further that of the next.  To make the lives better and more simpler for those that come after them.  Now we have to ask “have we been too successful?”.  Have things gotten to easy for people?  Do we not know what a bit of hard work and exercise is anymore?  I have grown up with life becoming more and more convenient each year as new technology is developed and embraced.  But with every added convenience comes a reduced need for exertion and movement, and that’s not changing back anytime soon.

So what can be done?  How can this be fixed?  Suggestions such as medicare funded gym memberships have been suggested, private health funded personal trainers are now and option for some funds.  Are these type of initiative the answer?  Financially bribing people to get fitter and become more active and achieve more in their lives physically?  My industry will disagree with me as this would really become a cash cow but I hope not.  The mind set of Australian’s needs to change.  Ownership of individuals health needs to be placed on the shoulder of the individual.  Granted for many people this is not an option.  Complications and difficulties can lead to some of the population needing a little bit of a leg up here and there and I’m 100% for that.  Maybe this is where these above initiatives should be looked at.  Exercise specialists for the disabled etc.  But what about the rest?

Now this is not to say I am one for the program but, I am reminded of a quote Shannon Ponton from channel ten’s ‘The Biggest Loser’.  He once remarked when question on the safety of some of the training given to the severely overweight participants on the show.  His answer, ‘these people aren’t disabled, they’re fat!’.  Now obviously the contestants are adequately screened prior to the show to ensure safety of all exercise as they rightly should be, but I think we have been making too many allowances for too many, for too long.

Every day when you turn on the TV you will be bombarded with the latest ‘too good to be true’ solution to your weight loss and exercise goals.  Well guess what, the old saying has never been more applicable.  If it sounds too good to be true… IT IS!  Forget about the pills and potions and latest exercise machines and vibration platforms.  Get out there and start working your butt off.

If you ask anyone what they need to do to improve in their diet the chances are that 90% of people will get the answer just about 90% there.  Now that’s a huge start!  We know just about what we should be and shouldn’t be doing, so DO IT!  And if you lack the motivation to get out there and get it done, then pay someone to make you.  Get a personal trainer to keep you accountable.  Even if you only see them once every 6 weeks so your budget isn’t strained.  But do something!  Even if it is a family member to nag you each day.

I would love to know anyone else’s thought’s on this.  Do you feel the ownership for Australia’s obesity problems needs to be handed back to the obese?  Should hard work be once again valued in our society.  Now not saying everyone needs to go to this extent but shouldn’t people who work hard for their achievements like the extremely fit Tony Abbot, or the shapely Jen Hawkins, be once again applauded for their continued efforts and achievements and not ridiculed for being too busy and important to be able to be spending that sort of time on training.  Would love to know your thoughts and comments.

20 thoughts on “What should be done about the levels of obesity in Australia?

  1. Steve

    Great post. As somebody who has lost a lot of weight I know that not until I had made the conscious decision that I was going to do something about my weight problem was I ever going to get anywhere.

  2. Steve

    Great post. As somebody who has lost a lot of weight I know that not until I had made the conscious decision that I was going to do something about my weight problem was I ever going to get anywhere.

  3. Tan

    Fantastic blog..and yes, I feel the ownership for Australia’s obesity problems needs to be handed back to the obese however that isn’t as easy as it sounds. These people need educating, motivating (which seems crazy, their potential health issues should motivation enough!) Sadly its not though.
    It starts with us parents. We need to educate our children, we need to be the ones who say no to hours indoors on the computers and Playstations and say ‘yes!’ to going out into the yard and jumping on the trampoline or playing chasy in the yard. We need to look back to our own childhood to see where we’ve gone wrong, then start looking forward to see where we can take our children and ourselves to live a happy healthy life.

    Thanks for a great read!

  4. Tan

    Fantastic blog..and yes, I feel the ownership for Australia’s obesity problems needs to be handed back to the obese however that isn’t as easy as it sounds. These people need educating, motivating (which seems crazy, their potential health issues should motivation enough!) Sadly its not though.
    It starts with us parents. We need to educate our children, we need to be the ones who say no to hours indoors on the computers and Playstations and say ‘yes!’ to going out into the yard and jumping on the trampoline or playing chasy in the yard. We need to look back to our own childhood to see where we’ve gone wrong, then start looking forward to see where we can take our children and ourselves to live a happy healthy life.

    Thanks for a great read!

  5. Luke Post author

    Thanks for the kind words guys. Agreed Tan. We need to encourage life long healthy habits and entrench this in our children.
    Sports and games rather than TVs and computers.
    But for the adults, I think we have made enough excuses. Time to take action.
    Thanks for commenting and I’d love to see your comments on more of our posts!

  6. Luke

    Thanks for the kind words guys. Agreed Tan. We need to encourage life long healthy habits and entrench this in our children.
    Sports and games rather than TVs and computers.
    But for the adults, I think we have made enough excuses. Time to take action.
    Thanks for commenting and I’d love to see your comments on more of our posts!

  7. Dan

    What about those obese citizens who are obese because of health problems. They may be fat through no fault to themselves. And if people like this did try to lose weight then wouldn’t a govt. incentive be invaluable to them? I see where your coming from. I just think you label all obese as lazy which is not always the case. I think also, that there is a problem in what people are considering as a state of normalcy. Just because someone is not thin does not mean they are obese. Fat and obese are two different things. There is nothing wrong with being fat. If a person is happy to be their size it should not be a problem for anyone. Of course there is a point where health comes into it. But that level is far from what people tend to think is unhealthy.

  8. Luke

    Some good points there Dan, while there is a difference in being fat and obese the fact is that whatever label overweight people may be given, being overweight and unfit is a health risk. While you may say it is a persons choice if they are happy then it is their life they can do what they choose, this is true to a degree as the purpose of government initiatives to improve health and physical activity is to reduce the cost of public health care that at the end of the day is passed down to every taxpayer in the country. The government can spend less on preventative health initiatives than it might on funding hospital stays and treatments for people who may succumb to illness caused or exacerbated by being overweight. Those people who may be overweight as a result of health issues can still experience reduced risk of further health issues by just undertaking a regular exercise and healthy eating program even if it does not result weight loss the benefits will be evident.
    The main issue here is not image or vanity related it is the clear link between being overweight and the increased risk of major health issues, if these can be avoided I believe we should be doing all we can to extend the quality and quantity of life for all Australians.

  9. Luke

    Some good points there Dan, while there is a difference in being fat and obese the fact is that whatever label overweight people may be given, being overweight and unfit is a health risk. While you may say it is a persons choice if they are happy then it is their life they can do what they choose, this is true to a degree as the purpose of government initiatives to improve health and physical activity is to reduce the cost of public health care that at the end of the day is passed down to every taxpayer in the country. The government can spend less on preventative health initiatives than it might on funding hospital stays and treatments for people who may succumb to illness caused or exacerbated by being overweight. Those people who may be overweight as a result of health issues can still experience reduced risk of further health issues by just undertaking a regular exercise and healthy eating program even if it does not result weight loss the benefits will be evident.
    The main issue here is not image or vanity related it is the clear link between being overweight and the increased risk of major health issues, if these can be avoided I believe we should be doing all we can to extend the quality and quantity of life for all Australians.

  10. Marcello

    Great article guys. Something needs to be done to change the lifestyle habits that are emerging through the generations. With technology advances comes less motivation for physical activity. People can occupy themselves for hours with gaming consoles, TV and computers. People communicate through social networks and phones. There is less and less need for physical activity unless people are intrinsically motivated to keep in shape!

    I think the issues need to be addresses both at Government level and at base level where people are already in exercise programs but not achieving results and not making the right lifestyle changes. They often think their exercise makes up for their poor lifestyle. Hence no improvements in health. Their is a lack of motivation for people to get results because they are often unaware of the consequences.

    Fitness Aus has been trying to increase the awareness of physical activity in a few recent campaigns such as “Exercise, your life needs it” and “Find Thirty”.

    It’d be good for the Government to get involved in making corporate health and wellbeing programs compulsory in some shape of form within businesses. This would cover the majority of the population and increase awareness for people to take action.

    At a base level trainers need to help clients and gym members be intrinsically motivated. Money and other external motivators are no good because unless you keep giving them, people will lose motivation to maintain good habits.

    1. Luke

      Thanks for reading Marcello. I agree, the screen mentality of many of today’s youth, and adults alike is a big problem we will face into the future. Fitness Australia is doing some great things, but that’s not where this should rest by any means.
      Workplace health and wellness programs are a great start and overall we have seen evidence in our programs of things like team members participating in programs like this having far few sick days that their non-participating couter parts.
      I guess the best motivator is getting more and more positive role models out there to should people that this can be done, and it’s not just super human athletes that can lead these clean, happy and healthy lives!

  11. Marcello

    Great article guys. Something needs to be done to change the lifestyle habits that are emerging through the generations. With technology advances comes less motivation for physical activity. People can occupy themselves for hours with gaming consoles, TV and computers. People communicate through social networks and phones. There is less and less need for physical activity unless people are intrinsically motivated to keep in shape!

    I think the issues need to be addresses both at Government level and at base level where people are already in exercise programs but not achieving results and not making the right lifestyle changes. They often think their exercise makes up for their poor lifestyle. Hence no improvements in health. Their is a lack of motivation for people to get results because they are often unaware of the consequences.

    Fitness Aus has been trying to increase the awareness of physical activity in a few recent campaigns such as “Exercise, your life needs it” and “Find Thirty”.

    It’d be good for the Government to get involved in making corporate health and wellbeing programs compulsory in some shape of form within businesses. This would cover the majority of the population and increase awareness for people to take action.

    At a base level trainers need to help clients and gym members be intrinsically motivated. Money and other external motivators are no good because unless you keep giving them, people will lose motivation to maintain good habits.

    1. Luke

      Thanks for reading Marcello. I agree, the screen mentality of many of today’s youth, and adults alike is a big problem we will face into the future. Fitness Australia is doing some great things, but that’s not where this should rest by any means.
      Workplace health and wellness programs are a great start and overall we have seen evidence in our programs of things like team members participating in programs like this having far few sick days that their non-participating couter parts.
      I guess the best motivator is getting more and more positive role models out there to should people that this can be done, and it’s not just super human athletes that can lead these clean, happy and healthy lives!

  12. gorgepeterson

    Obesity is such a dangerous thing in for children. According to me junk food is the main reason for obesity. It is important to control over this obesity. The small kids must eat healthy and less oily food for better health. 

    1. Luke

      Thanks for commenting Gorge. I think inactivity plays a huge part here as well and cannot be forgotten. Hopefully we can start to make inroads on this huge issue soon to avoid a generation of health problems into the future.

  13. gorgepeterson

    Obesity is such a dangerous thing in for children. According to me junk food is the main reason for obesity. It is important to control over this obesity. The small kids must eat healthy and less oily food for better health. 

    1. Luke

      Thanks for commenting Gorge. I think inactivity plays a huge part here as well and cannot be forgotten. Hopefully we can start to make inroads on this huge issue soon to avoid a generation of health problems into the future.

  14. Luke

    Thanks for commenting. Covering the kids is one them but helping them to learn how to help themselves is something else…

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