With rising obesity rates, 62.8% of the Australian population are now classified as either overweight or obese (ABS, 2013) and we’ve arrived at the point where the majority of Australians are officially classified as being unhealthy. Fat has become the norm and the number of overweight individuals continues to rise.
So what solutions exist?
To help provide some context, this chart from the ABS looks specifically at obesity since 1995:
Heart Foundation research in 2011 found (Heart Foundation, 2012):
Whilst individuals might be aware that they need to lose weight, the extent by which they are overweight seems not so well sighted.
From the same research:
This distorted norm seems to be resulting in an unhealthy shift of perception and we are moving to a state where we simply cannot solve a problem to which we have become blind.
So this raises the question: what can be done about this?
- Responsibility: Whilst it is great to be an adult and have the freedom to eat whatever we choose and do as little as we choose, we need to match this freedom with equal doses of responsibility and make choices that positively impact on our future.
- Accountability: We need to hold each other more accountable to eating better and exercising more.
- Speak up skilfully: I believe that everyone needs to be having “Why are you eating/doing that?” conversations. If a friend (a real friend cares about their friend’s welfare) is overweight and is eating poorly, than I believe there is an obligation to say something (privately in a considerate and constructive manner).
If you’re fat, you-are-fat; let’s not sugar coat it. This is NOT meant to be offensive, but a statement of fact. This “big boned” type of attitude needs to stop. It isn’t helping anyone. Being overweight is unhealthy, decreases quality of life, reduces longevity and we all need to do a rethink. Creeping social acceptance enables overweight individual’s ongoing problematic behaviour and ignores their need to be accountable for their health. I propose making a societal shift where we stop this “Oh poor them, they’re fat” attitude and move to a more solution-based and adult view.
Let’s get real and support each other to make positive decisions and habituate observing and reinforcing effort and positive change. We should constructively challenge each other when we are slipping, which happens to all of us from time to time. People need to cut all the excuses, be more accountable and try to continually be better version of ourselves, no matter where we are at.
Everyone can make more time to exercise, everyone can make more time to prepare and eat healthy meals, WE ALL CAN. People need to stop with the “I don’t have time”. If you watch TV then you have time. If you spend lots of time on social media or socialising then you have time. Let’s give ourselves the self-respect we deserve and push for better, healthier version of ourselves.
Heart Foundation. Factsheet: Overweight and obesity In-text: (Foundation, 2012) Bibliography: Heart Foundation. 2012. Factsheet: Overweight and obesity. [pdf] Available through: www.heartfoundation.org.au http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/Factsheet-Overweight-and-obesity.pdf [Accessed: 16 Feb 2014].
Profiles of Health, Australia, 2011-13. 2014. 4338.0 – Profiles of Health, Australia, 2011-13. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4338.0~2011-13~Main%20Features~Overweight%20and%20obesity~10007. [Accessed 16 February 2014].