Australia’s health in 2016 - 10 things you should know

1# Vegetables Only 7% of adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables each day. The required amount, 2 1/2 cups of cooked vegies.

2# Fruit Only 1 in 2 people eat the required amount.

The recommended amount is 2 pieces per day.

3# Exercise Nearly 50% of people do not exercise enough, or exercise at all.

Enough is defined as 30 minutes or more a day.

30 minutes = 2% of the day.

4# Weight Almost 2 in 3 adults (63%) are overweight or obese.

Overweight/obese means that the body is carrying excess weight, which is comprised of fat. Excess fat on the body significantly increases your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and mental health issues.

5# Life expectancy We are living 25 years longer than we were a century ago. A boy born today should expect to live to 80 years, and a girl about 84 years.

Closing the gap? There is still a significant health gap between indigenous and non-indigenous. An indigenous male lives on average 10.6 years less than a non-indigenous, and for females, 9.5 years less!

6# Disease We have more chronic diseases affecting us than ever before.

Although we are living longer, chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, COPD and diabetes are leading the way in afflicting illness, disability and death in our country (probably on someone you know).

So we may be living longer, but more and more of us are living with sickness and side effects dampening our well-being every day.

7# Death In 2013, eight chronic diseases, including asthma, arthritis, back problems, cancer, cardiovascular disease, COPD, diabetes and mental health, accounted for 73% of all deaths.

8# Smoking More than 1 in 10 adults smoke.

Those living in remote areas are twice as likely to smoke compared to those in major cities.

9# Mental health 1 in 7 children and adolescents (4-17 years) have had a mental disorder in the previous 12 months.

10# The risk factors causing the most burden in our country are induced by an unhealthy lifestyle. They include being overweight or obese, tobacco use, alcohol use, not moving enough and having high blood pressure. Poor diet affects majority of these.

You might subtly believe that you’ll be fine and that becoming unwell is just a matter of luck, but if you have just one of the above mentioned risk factors, your chance of getting a chronic disease has increased.

So what can you do?

  • Remember that what you do (or don’t do) today for your health will not just impact on your short term well-being (energy levels, immune system, mood, cognition, physical health e.g. skin), but also play a major affect on your health in the future years (e.g. your risk of getting a disease, being overweight or having a mental health issue).

3 simple things to add to your day for better health

  • Eat 2 pieces of fruit & at least 2 ½ cups of mixed veggies

  • Go for a walk, run, swim, surf, sport or yoga for ½ hour or more

  • Don’t smoke