CBHS believes in supporting members with valuable preventative and disease management advice as part of our commitment to exceptional value and member care service. Australia is currently in the midst of an obesity epidemic, with more than 14 million Australians being overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese is linked to a number of chronic diseases and early death, and as such this trend is considered to be a serious public health issue.
The health risks of obesity
Australia has been identified as one of the heaviest countries in the world, with the rate of obesity more than doubling over the past two decades. More than five million (one in four) Australians are obese, with a Body Mass Index of 30 kg/m2 or more. Obesity is the number one cause of premature death and illness in Australia, ranking above even cigarette smoking.
Obesity is linked to the following illnesses and complications:
- Diabetes - If you’re obese, you’re more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes.
- Stroke - Obesity is linked to a higher likelihood of stroke.
- Cardiovascular - Those who are obese are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, including coronary heart disease, which is the build-up of plaque inside the arteries.
- Chronic kidney disease - Obesity is also linked with a raised risk of chronic kidney disease.
- High blood pressure - Being obese also means you’re more likely to have high blood pressure, which can cause other health complications.
- Childhood health disorders - Obese children are more likely to have Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, hypertension or asthma.
- Metabolic syndrome - If you’re obese, you’re more likely to have metabolic syndrome, which raises your risk of having diabetes, a stroke or heart disease.
- Cancer - Being obese means you’re more likely to have certain types of cancers, such as cancers of the colon, breast, endometrial, and gallbladder.
- Osteoarthritis - Obesity is linked with joint problems in the knees, hips, and lower back.
Obesity is also linked with other problems such as reproductive issues, gallstones, hyperventilation and more.
Benefits of Maintaining a Healthful Weight Range
Thus, it follows that maintaining a healthful weight range for your height can lead to a more healthful and energetic life. Rather than focusing on crash dieting or short-term solutions, CBHS recommends that you eat well, stay active and develop healthful habits for weight maintenance over the long term.
Losing weight by eating well and staying active
There are countless diets and weight-loss tips available, but all successful diets are based on a simple principle: eating fewer kilojoules and increasing the amount of physical activity so that you use more energy than you consume.
Tips for Staying Physically Active
To lose weight, aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous exercise nearly every day of the week, as recommended by the Department of Health in its National Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults. Coupled with a balanced, healthful diet, this may allow you to prevent excessive weight gain.
You can start off with 10, 20, or 30 minutes of exercise and build up to 30 minutes or more per day. The Department of Health sets out four major guidelines for Australian adults when it comes to exercising for better health.
- Movement as opportunity - Movement or physical exercise should be considered an opportunity, not an inconvenience.
- Be active every day - Aim to be active every day, in as many ways as possible.
- Be active at least 30 minutes a day - Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most if not all days of the week. This activity can be accumulated throughout the day, rather than being continuous.
- Add regular, vigorous activity - If you are able to, adding in some vigorous exercise on a regular basis will be positive for your health.
Try to be physically active by doing things you like to do and which are convenient. For example, if you work in an office block, you could opt for the stairs instead of the lifts. Walk everywhere you can and choose activities such as hiking or biking for recreation and leisure.
Eating well for health and energy
While physical activity is critical for losing weight, so is a well-balanced diet. According to the Department of Health, eating well is about incorporating a wide variety of nutritious foods such as wholegrain carbohydrates, legumes, vegetables and fruits into your diet.
It is also about choosing low-fat foods and low-salt foods. Avoiding or minimising sugar and alcohol is also recommended.
Here are some tips for eating well and losing weight:
- Reduce calorie intake - You will lose weight as long as you reduce your calorie intake.
- Eat less and/or eat different types of food - This might mean eating less and choosing different types of foods than what you might eat now.
- Eat to stay fuller for longer - Incorporate lean proteins and complex, slow or low-glycaemic-index carbohydrates, as these foods will make you feel more satiated for longer.
- Vegetables and fruit - Many people don’t incorporate sufficient servings of fruits and vegetables in their diet. You should have at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day.
- Cooking - Cook using low-fat methods such as stir-frying, microwaving, steaming, grilling or poaching instead of frying or baking.
- Oils in moderation - Use less butter, margarine and oils for cooking and serving dishes.
- Low-fat dairy - Choose low-fat dairy products over full-fat ones.
- Snacks - Snack on fruits and other low-kilojoule snacks instead of fast food or oily snacks such as chips.
Great habits to adopt for weight maintenance
Keep in mind that losing weight and maintaining a healthful weight range is about building habits for the long term. One of the most successful way’s to develop these habits is through a multicomponent lifestyle intervention (healthy eating plan, increased physical activity and support for behavioural change) as indicated by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC).
- Check Up - First and foremost you should consult with your GP before beginning a lifestyle intervention to assess your particular needs and to possibly run standard blood tests, i.e., cholesterol, fasting glucose to ascertain if you have any issues before starting an exercise program. Your GP will also calculate your Body Mass Index (an indicator of ideal weight compared to height).
- Healthy Eating Plan - Weight loss happens in the Kitchen. You may need assistance in learning and understanding how to prepare a healthy, low calorie, balanced diet that will assist you to help lose excess fat and maintain a healthy weight. This diet should include a variety of foods particularly lean meats, vegetables, whole grains fruits and nuts.
- Exercise - Physical activity is an integral component of weight loss and maintaining your weight. Exercise is used to counter balance sedentary activities, i.e., watching TV or working on computers. When beginning an exercise program, many members will benefit from advice on ways to introduce and sustain increased physical activity.
- Support - We all need support when it comes to losing weight. Some members may seek support from dieticians, personal trainers, physiotherapists and many other allied health professionals. The most important support is from your family and friends. Do they support you in your choices of healthy behaviours?
CBHS can help you lose weight
CBHS offers outstanding value for membership in the form of benefits to support members who want to lose weight and maintain their ideal goal range. If you have Hospital, packaged or Extras cover, you might be eligible for a level of benefit for approved weight management programs, yoga, pilates and gym memberships or personal training.
If you have risk factors for type 2 diabetes or heart disease, you have much to gain from CBHS Health Fund Risk Factor Management Program. Conducted over a four to six month period of phone-based consultations, your experienced clinician/health coach will work with you to set and achieve the health goals that will help you take charge of your health and to make the small, achievable adjustments to your lifestyle that can effect long-term change for the better.