Obesity and overweight results released for the first time in Northern Sydney

Obesity and overweight results released for the first time in Northern Sydney

24 October 2013

The number of people classified as overweight and obese in the Northern Sydney area is reaching alarming levels following the release of the latest National Health Performance (NHPA) Healthy Communities reports into overweight and obesity rates.

Todays release of the report, has provided a valuable local analysis of the public health status of people living in the Ryde, Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai and Hunters Hills LGAs on this key preventative health issue.

The key findings of the report show that over half of the local population (57 per cent) are either overweight or obese, which is slightly higher than the 54 per cent aggregate for similar metropolitan catchments, based on socio-economic status, nationwide.

Whilst localised rates have not been available in the past, the national overweight and obesity rates have been increasing rapidly. In 1989, 44 per cent of adult Australians were overweight or obese, which, according to the report has risen to 63 per cent in 2011-2012.

According to NSMLs Acting CEO and Director - Research, Mental and Community Health, Dr James Baker, the continued rise in overweight and obese rates is a growing problem and can lead to an increased risk in the development of preventable chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Choosing to eat well and exercise are some of the simple ways that most people can incorporate into their lifestyle to reduce their weight and reduce their risk of developing preventable disease.

Even small lifestyle changes such as creating nutritionally balanced meals or planning your meals in advance can help to avoid eating on the run, or eating convenience food, which are less healthy options, added NSMLs Manager - Allied and Community Health, Di Silfigoi.

In its ongoing efforts to keep people well and out of hospital, Northern Sydney Medicare Local will be running healthy lifestyle programs for both the community and healthcare providers such as GPs, Practice Nurses, Psychologists and Physiotherapists.

The Healthy Community Supermarket Tours, which were trialled during this years Womens Health Week in September, will be available to the community in the lead up to Christmas.

On the tours, participants will learn a range of useful information including how to read food labels, planning your shop, putting together healthy meal choices, portion sizes and more. To register your interest in participating in a Healthy Community Supermarket Tour, contact NSMLs Karen Solomons on 02 9477 8700 or ksolomons@nsml.com.au.

Healthcare providers can also get involved via NSMLs new Lifestyle Medicine Network (LMN) where healthcare providers can join together and be supported to help bridge the gap between health promotion and conventional medicine. The aim of the network is to create a positive and long-term solution to the obesity and chronic disease issue through a collaborative approach based on sharing ideas and ongoing education.

The inaugural meeting is being held at NSMLs Thornleigh office on Tuesday 19 November. Healthcare providers can contact Di Silfigoi on 02 9477 8700 or dsilfigoi@nsml.com.au for more information.

Community members interested in learning more about upcoming health promotion activities can email NSMLs Health Promotion Unit at healthpromotion@nsml.com.au or visit http://www.nsml.com.au/for-community/events

The Healthy Communities report is available online on the National Health Performance Authority website: www.nhpa.gov.au

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