The shocking state of Australians health – what category do you fall into?
With increasing lifestyle pressures from work and other commitments it seems that poor food choices including fast food and convenience foods plus minimal exercise is becoming commonplace. We now consider this sort of behaviour to be ‘normal’. However, there is nothing normal about sitting in an office for the better part of your day with little exposure to natural light and surviving on packaged ‘convenient foods’ because you don’t have time to stop for lunch.
Recent research has uncovered some statistics that will shock some of us out of our office chairs and (hopefully) back into the local fruit and vegetable market.
According to researchers from the Australian Longitude Study on Women’s Health, the current state of women’s health is worse then ever. Australian women are now more obese, are not eating enough vegetables plus are not exercising sufficiently, more so than ever before. These factors combined do not sound like they are setting us up for a long, healthy and happy life. We all understand that women juggle careers and motherhood, which would definitely be contributing to the challenge of maintaining a balanced healthy lifestyle. Yet, there are even more staggering figures that show it’s not just these working mothers that seem to be struggling. The same study identified that only 2% of women over 61 years are eating enough vegetables. These are the vegetables that provide our body with a multitude of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are essential for our energy production, immunity and overall vitality.
But let’s not blame our working mothers for the poor state of health in Australia, it is far more widespread. It seems that convenience is now more important to many of us, more important than our health. A national survey recently found that nearly half of Australians place convenience and money ahead of health and nutrition when it comes to their lunch time choices.
It is these poor lunch time choices that may be a large contributing factor to the state of our nation’s wellness. We have been reminded time and again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so much so that our lunch is merely is an insignificant afterthought. Over 85% of Australians now have the opinion that breakfast and dinner are more important meals than lunch and to top that off nearly half of Australians skip lunch altogether at least once a week. Another cause for concern is that one third of the population admits to relying on processed fast foods as their meal of choice at lunchtime.
What many people may not be aware of is that lunch is in fact an important meal of the day, considering this is the meal that fuels our body for the second half of the day. Without a balanced lunch you are left with little will power to resist that mid afternoon sugar hit (that’s if you have managed to stay awake once the clock hits 3pm). We all need to become more proactive with our food choices, and choose a healthy and fresh lunch. This is guaranteed to increase energy, mood and productivity throughout the day plus it also instills good eating habits long term.
So what category do you fall into? Are you one of the Australians that skips lunch and then reaches for the sugar laden muesli bar and energy drink when you need a quick fix? Or would you say that you reach your quota of (2 and 5) fresh fruit and vegetables in a day? So maybe it is time to start questioning what we consider as ‘normal’ and you may realise that these common beliefs of normality are far from the ‘normal’ that our body needs in order to thrive and be well. It is time to make a conscious decision to be well and start putting those good habits into place that will ensure an active, happy and healthy life.