Health and Nutrition

Overweight and Obesity

fruit and vege

The number of people aged 18 years and over in Australia who are affected by overweight and obesity continues to rise.  Between 2007-2008 and 2011-2012, the number of adults who were overweight or obese increased from 61.2% to 63.4%. This is significantly higher than the 56.3% who were affected in 1995.  The good news is however that rates of overweight and obesity in children aged 5-17 has remained stable over the past few years at 25.3%. Between 1995 and 2011-12 the average weight for men increased by 3.9 kg and for women, by 4.1 kg. This means that even if you are not overweight, many Australian adults are heavier than they were in 1995.  In 2011-12, around two thirds of men and women aged 18 years and over had a waist measure that put them at an increased risk of developing diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Eating well and keeping active will help with weight management and with reducing the risk of lifestyle related diseases.  To help manage your weight, the following tips may be useful:

  • Cook and prepare food at home more frequently. In many cases, eating out and takeaways contribute more fat, salt, sugar and kilojoules than food prepared at home.  Spend time planning your meals and shopping and cooking will be  easier.  Eggs are versatile, quick and easy to prepare and being high in protein, can help manage your appetite over the day.
  • Serve yourself 80% of your usual portion.  This will automatically reduce your kilojoule intake without having to make drastic changes to the types of foods you normally eat.
  • Watch your alcohol intake   Aim to include at least 2 alcohol free days a week and limit your intake on other days to 1-2 standard drinks.
  • Track and monitor your weight and your food intake. Keep a food diary and reflect daily on what you have been eating and drinking.  Set yourself small daily goals to improve your eating habits.
  • Manage your hunger by eating regularly.  Avoid leaving long periods between eating as this can result in increased hunger making it harder to take the time needed to prepare a healthy meal and to eat moderate portions.  Aim to eat something (healthy) every 3-4 hours.  Boiled eggs make a great satisfying snack.
  • Manage your level of stress. Hormones released during periods of stress have been associated with weight gain around the middle as well as obesity. Taking time out to relax will not only improve your mood, it may help you better manage your weight.
  • Eat slowly and enjoy your food.  This reduces the risk that you will over-eat and may also help regulate hormones in the body associated with appetite and hunger.
  • Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep may affect levels of satiety hormones and contribute to feeling tired and more hungry. Aim to get around 7-9 hours sleep a night.