Australians in denial about their health


Maurice Swanson, Heart Foundation (WA Division), Chief Executive, says the Deakin University findings out today are in line with the Heart Foundation's research that one in six Australians who are classified as obese rate their health as very good or excellent and only one in seven rating their health as poor.

"This proves we have a long way to go to in balancing the scales on what society sees as a healthy body weight," said Mr Swanson.

The Heart Foundations research of 10,156 people aged 30-65 in 2012 also found that 32 per cent, or 3.25 million Australians, in the 30-65 age group were obese.

"Our perception of what being healthy looks like seems to be expanding at the same rate as our waistlines."

"We all know what we need to do to lead a healthier lifestyle but as being overweight or obese becomes more common, it appears that some people no longer consider carrying extra kilos to be a threat to their health."

For most people being a healthy weight means having a BMI (body mass index) between 18.5 and 24.9, but waist circumference is also a good indicator – women should aim for a waist measurement of less than 80cm and men for less than 94cm.

"A higher waist circumference increases your risk of developing serious disease such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers."

"Having a grabbable gut is dangerous because it's likely you have too much toxic fat surrounding your vital organs – much like what you can see in our LiveLighter advertisements."

The Heart Foundation survey also revealed that:

  • 80 percent of obese adults had been told by their doctor to lose weight
  • Two in three have been told by their doctor to exercise more
  • More than half have been told by their doct or to eat better
  • Only one in nine obese Australians aged 30-65 believe they have a high risk of having a heart attack.

Data about obese Australians with high blood pressure and cholesterol showed:

  • One in ten obese Australians who have high blood pressure and high cholesterol still rate their health as very good or excellent.
  • Only one in six obese Australians with high blood pressure and high cholesterol believe their risk of heart attack is high.

"West Australians have the highest proportion of overweight and obese people of all the states and territories, it's time we be realistic about what a healthy weight is and start making changes to lead a healthier lifestyle."

"The way we view our health may be clouded by judging ourselves against others rather t han against health advice and recommended guidelines."

"Healthy living is for everyone. Regular physical activity and eating a wide range of healthy foods can help us all achieve and maintain a healthy weight," he said.

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