News

We’re very overweight

by
November 30, 2016

Weight a minute, 68.2 per cent of us are overweight?

A new fitness tracker released by Australian Health Policy Collaboration, a collaboration between Victoria University and Torrens University, lets you have a detailed look at Australia’s health by postcode, and for Shepparton the results are not great.

More than two in every three people, of 68.2 per cent of us, in the Shepparton and Mooroopna area are overweight or obese, and 25 per cent of us are regular smokers.

Our obesity is higher than the national average, with 63.4 per cent of us overweight or obese across the nation.

The bad health decisions lead to big problems, and according to the data, 19.3 per cent of us have high blood pressure, and 32.9 per cent of us have high cholesterol.

Professor Maximilian de Courten from Victoria University said health could come down to your bank account.

‘‘Wealthier post codes are healthier post codes. There is a social gradient when it comes to Australia’s biggest killers like cancers, heart diseases and stroke and their risk factors like smoking and obesity,’’ Prof De Courten said.

A general practitioner at Wyndham House Clinic in Shepparton, Dr Sheldon Hall, agrees, and said Shepparton’s poor health outcomes were similar to other regional towns across Australia.

‘‘In Shepparton and the Goulburn Valley in general, those stats probably reflect the discrepancy in the socio-economic status with the major cities,’’ Dr Hall said.

‘‘Rural and remote areas are generally associated with higher morbidity and mortality than the major cities.’’

He said outside the city limits of a capital city the average life expectancy dropped by two years.

‘‘It’s probably partly due to unhealthy food being a fair bit cheaper,’’ he said.

‘‘And if you are poorer, perhaps health is not your number one priority.’’

And according to the statistics, the more you earn, the healthier you are likely to be.

In Melbourne’s inner-east suburb of Caulfield 52 per cent of the population falls into the obese category, while further towards the city in Toorak it is 48.8 per cent.

And in Toorak only 11.4 per cent of adults regularly smoke.

Princess Park Clinic practice nurse Marni Stevens does a lot of work helping patients lose the kilos at the centre’s weight loss clinic and said people needed to change their attitudes towards fitness.

‘‘With fast food they just find it easier to go through the drive-through than go to the supermarket,’’ she said.

‘‘I don’t really think that is an excuse, sometimes you just need to find the time if you want to make a healthy change.

‘‘A lot of it is about portion control and getting out for a little bit of exercise,’’ she said.

‘‘You don’t have to go to the gym for hours every time, just go for a half-hour walk every day and your fitness will slowly increase.’’

To have a look at where Shepparton sits on the national health scale go to atlasesaustralia.com.au/ahpc/

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