“I just want to be skinny.”
“I thought that was healthy.”
“…But I read on the internet that…”
“My friend told me….”
“I heard that having a good breakfast wasn’t important.”
Above are comments I hear each day from clients. Usually my reply would be, “If maintaining a healthy weight was easy, we would all be skinny. But we aren’t, are we ? There is more to being of a healthy weight than what you eat. It’s how you eat, why you eat, and when you eat.”
Australia’s population as a whole is becoming increasingly overweight and obese. The scary thing is, the age at which we are becoming overweight is decreasing.
Our access to energy-dense foods has never been greater, and our levels of activity never lower. Our general cooking knowledge and time available for cooking are also decreasing. What I find confounding is the fact that accessibility to energy-dense convenience foods is becoming more prevalent. During the time spent writing this article, I have seen advertisments for MacDonalds, KFC, Coke and Outback Jacks. Not to mention Darrel Brohman romanticising being overweight and inactive.
In addition to the above points, the following factors are simply not equating to actual health:
a) The individual’s understanding of how to maintain health;
b) How to negotiate the increasingly complex world of food;
c) Health marketing.
This can be seen in the increasing proportion of Australians with lifestyle diseases. The incidences of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are without doubt growing. These factors are reducing quality of life for individuals.
Individuals aren’t totally to blame for the growing prevalence of these diseases. However, I feel it’s increasingly important to learn about food and its relationship to health.
Below are 7 true or false questions, to test your nutrition knowledge:
Avocado is a healthy fat, and therefore won’t cause me to gain weight. False.
I should avoid carbohydrates and eat protein if I want to lose weight, and keep it off. False.
For every extra serve of fruits and vegetables, up to 7 serves per day, the overall risk of mortality drops by 5%. True.
Protein doesn’t provide any energy, only carbohydrates and fats do. False.
Only 6.8% of Australians are eating the recommended serves of fruits and vegetables each day. True.
One diet will suit everyone. False.
The internet and friends are good sources of individualised nutritional knowledge. False.
Do you think you have adequate knowledge about nutrition and health? Having skills and maintaining a healthy diet is just one important part of overall health. Do you place enough importance upon the nutritional side of your life? Chances are you don’t. Why do I ask these questions? Because 68% of Australians are overweight or obese. Now is the time to start, and seek the help you and your family need.