Aussies inspired to get healthy, but life getting in the way New data reveals our healthy and not-so healthy habits
A revealing new survey from LiveLighter has painted a stark picture of the health of Australian adults – we’re heavier than we think, we’re too busy to cook, some of us do no exercise at all and we’re still not eating enough vegies.
On the plus side, almost half of us are trying to do something about our weight, Aussies in their forties are leading the way in fitness and popular cooking shows are inspiring us to get cooking.
LiveLighter’s annual Shape of Australia survey analysed the health, nutrition and physical activity behaviours of more than 2,000 Australians aged 25-49.
Among the key findings were:
- Almost half (43%) of us are trying to lose weight, and people whose weight is classified as overweight or obese are more than twice as likely than those in the normal weight range to be attempting to do so (62% vs 27%).
- We underestimate our size: 1 in 3 people (35%) whose weight is in the overweight or obese range describe themselves as being of average weight.
- Cooking shows motivate us to cook, but when it comes to the crunch, we don’t have time: 1 in 3 Australians (35%) reported that popular TV shows such as MasterChef inspired them to cook more, but a lack of time prevents 2 in 5 (42%) from doing so.
- Aussies aged 45-49 were the most active, with 1 in 4 (28%) meeting physical activity guidelines. Of most concern, 1 in 7 Australians (14%) do no exercise at all.
- Half of Australians (50%) eat the recommended two serves of fruit each day, but only 1 in 10 (11%) get enough vegies – alarmingly, 1 in 5 Aussie homes (20%) reported household members who won’t eat them at all.
LiveLighter Campaign Manager Alison McAleese said the Shape of Australia survey offered useful insights into some of our healthy and not-so healthy habits.
“This survey of Australian adults shows us that there are some really positive things that Australians are doing for their health, but also some areas that could use a little work,” Ms McAleese said.
“For example, it’s great to see so many people in their 40’s getting out there and being active, but it’s alarming to see that one in seven adults do no exercise at all. Exercise has many benefits beyond maintaining a healthy weight, including reducing our risk of health problems like heart disease and some cancers.”
Ms McAleese said the good news is that there are some fairly simple changes we can make to our lifestyles to achieve a healthy weight and reduce our risk of serious health problems in the long-term.
Heart Foundation Dietitian Sian Armstrong said that while taste remained a factor for some, time appeared to be the biggest influence on our ability to cook from scratch and eat the recommended daily intake of five serves of vegetables.
“It’s fantastic to see that people are inspired by cooking shows such as MasterChef, but we need to work on the belief that cooking and eating healthy food – vegetables in particular – is time-consuming,” Ms Armstrong said.
“The wonderful thing about vegies is that they’re incredibly versatile and quick to prepare. Whether they’re mixed with herbs and spices, slipped into other dishes, eaten raw, sliced, grated, steamed or baked – the opportunities are endless,” she added.
“Eating more vegies each day can mean a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer while also helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. So, if we do take a little extra time to boost our vegie intake, it’s well worth the effort.”
LiveLighter’s top health tips:
- Get active and social. Instead of catching up with friends for a meal or a drink, head to the beach or your local park and catch up for a walk or a game of cricket.
- Veg-up your meals. Add mushrooms, asparagus and tomatoes to omelettes or on toast. Add grated vegies to pasta sauces and chopped vegies like pumpkin and peas to casseroles.
- Join a local walking group. The Heart Foundation has the largest free walking network in Australia. It’s fun, social and an easy way to stay active.
- Save time by cooking meals in bulk and freezing. Try some of LiveLighter’s freezer friendly recipes: Chicken and vegie pie, baked tomato rice, or homemade burgers.
- Head to the LiveLighter website. It has plenty more tips, resources and recipes to help you achieve a healthy weight.
- Vic: Fleur Jacobs on 0423 827 697 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Vic: Rebecca Cook on 0438 316 435 or email@example.com
WA: Michelle Weall on 0430 465 657 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LiveLighter® is a public health education campaign encouraging Australians adults to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink, and being more active. In Victoria, the campaign is delivered by Cancer Council Victoria and Heart Foundation Victoria. In Western Australia, LiveLighter is delivered by Heart Foundation WA and Cancer Council WA, the LiveLighter campaign is funded by the State Government of Western Australia. For more healthy tips, recipes and advice visit www.livelighter.com.au