RACHEL VAN DER WAARDEN
More working hours may be contributing to more than half of Australia’s population being overweight, according to health experts.
The 2007-08 National Health Survey found that 61.4 per cent of the Australian population are either overweight or obese.
Dietician Glenn Cardwell said extra working hours contributed to poor Australian diets.
“It would be good to have workplaces that encourage their staff to take around 45 minutes to an hour off during the day to do some kind of exercise,” he said.
“Unfortunately some people feel they must work a long day to secure their job.”
While many factors may influence an individual’s weight, obesity is mainly due to an imbalance of energy intake from food and energy expenditure through physical activity.
Point Walter Medical Centre GP Adrian Zentner said at least half of his patients were overweight.
“A large amount of people don’t recognise that they are obese, they just think they are carrying some extra weight,” he said.
The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australia recommend exercise of at least a moderate level most days of the week for a total of 30 minutes or more.
Dr Zentner said it was common for people to take shortcuts rather than make their own meals.
“After a long day at work people are tired and are likely to pick up take-away or heat pre-prepared meals,” he said.
Mr Cardwell emphasised the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity.
“The healthier you eat the less likely you are to have heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, dementia and a wide range of other illnesses later in life,” he said. “Many of these health problems are preventable through a healthy and active lifestyle.”
Published in the Western Independent October 2010