We live in a world where unhealthy has become normal, and it’s got to change.
That’s according to the NSW government’s “Make Healthy Normal” website, which states over half of adults and more than one in five children in this state are overweight or obese, increasing their risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and type 2 diabetes later in life.
The good news is it’s never too late to make a change. And it sounds pretty obvious. But it’s surprising how “normal” abnormal can get – just read the headlines from around the world.
Groups discriminating other groups with homicidal intent on the basis of colour, creed or attendance at pop concerts.
Rage on Instagram about “confronting images” concerning menstruation, an issue half the population on the planet deal with every day of their collective lives.
A colonised country coming to grips with two centuries of inter-generational trauma brought on by the notion of terra nullius.
Life is complex but change can come if we so choose, and that’s the Make Healthy Normal message.
It starts with the individual. And if you can’t start with that, try the Make Healthy Normal quiz on www.makehealthynormal.com.au. Results may rock your skinfolds. They sure did mine.
Straight up, my BMI had me in the “overweight” category, even when I sucked my gut in.
My vegies intake was OK but I really fell over on the fruit thing. That may be because the chip machine at work doesn’t offer fruit. (Another norm worth a challenge perhaps?)
Incidental activity was good, but vigorous activity of 120 minutes per week was below the recommended 150. Disheartening really, as I like to reward my 120 minutes of vigour with about 5000 minutes of bad habits.
Water and alcohol intakes were inversely proportional to the recommended levels. It’s actually a minimum eight glasses of water per day and not the other way around.
And the questions on consuming unhealthy food and sugary drinks should read: I do so a) rarely b) occasionally, c) methodically.
Having done the quiz, I now realise what I have to change – my attitude to what is normal. (This approach will probably work for world peace and taxes on tampons too.)
You only have to look at smoking and the concept of the ‘smoko’ to realise change can come.
For so many decades smoking was considered so glamourous, so addictive, but not so fundamentally unhealthy that it got elevated to a workplace norm with a break named after it.
Fair enough we took that break, but were we ever really achieving anything other than a bad look outside the office when we had an actual smoke.
Wouldn’t it have been healthier to take the break and, say, jump rope? Probably, if we had the physical capacity after all the bungers, or the inclination.
Since the 1980s, though, in the wake of the Quit For Life campaigns, and the fear of preventable death, rates of smoking in Australia have dropped. Hopefully the Make Healthy Normal campaign can emulate.
Because we’re born with a finite number of heartbeats and it seems so unnecessary to limit those when we we could change so many other things, for the better.
We can lead healthier livers, I mean lives, if we get fair dinkum about our choices. So pass the chips. I mean, pass on the chips. And start making healthy normal-er.