As 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.