In light of recent health results by Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), why not give the gift of good health this Christmas.
Data released last week by the ABS National Health Survey 2017-18 showed that more than half of Australians (56 per cent) thought they were in excellent or very good health, while 15 per cent were feeling in fair or poor health.
ABS director of health statistics Louise Gates said results suggested the typical Australian could be doing more to improve their health.
“On average, we were doing 42 minutes of exercise every day, which mostly consisted of walking for transport or walking for exercise [24.6 minutes], however we didn’t participate in sufficient strength and toning activities", Ms Gates said. "In addition, 44 per cent of us spent most of our work day sitting.
“More than half of us were eating the recommended daily intake of fruit but not enough vegetables, with only 7.5 per cent of adults eating the recommended daily serves of vegetables."
In particular, the survey findings reported only a minority of people surveyed met the physical activity guidelines with 1.9 per cent of 15 to 17-year-olds, 15 per cent of 18 to 64-year-olds and 17.2 per cent of 65-year-olds and over meeting the 2014 Physical Activity Guidelines in 2017-18.
One in ten (10.3 per cent) 15 to 17-year-olds engaged in 60 minutes of exercise, excluding workplace physical activity, every day and around one in six (15.8 per cent) did strength or toning activities on three or more days in the last week.
More than half (55.4 per cent) of 18 to 64-year-olds undertook 150 minutes or more of exercise in the last week, excluding workplace physical activity. This increased to 65.5 per cent when workplace physical activity was included.
The survey found in 2017-18, two-thirds of Australian adults were overweight or obese, an increase from 63.4 per cent in 2014-15.
This change was driven by the increase in the proportion of adults categorised as obese, which increased from 27.9 per cent to 31.3 per cent.
There was a large increase for those aged 18 to 24 years, with 38.9 per cent overweight or obese in 2014-15 compared with 46 per cent in 2017-18.
Almost one-quarter (24.9% per cent) of children aged 5 to 17 years were overweight or obese in 2017-18 (17 per cent overweight and 8.1 per cent obese).
In terms of fruit and vegetable consumption, the ABS data showed for 2017-18 that just over half (51.3 per cent) of Australians aged 18 years and over met the guidelines for the recommended daily serves of fruit, which is two or more serves.
One in thirteen (7.5 per cent) adults met the guidelines for serves of vegetables, which is five to six or more serves for men, depending on age, and five or more for women.
Only one in 20 (5.4 per cent) adults met both the fruit and the vegetable recommendations.
For more details on the National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18, go to http://www.abs.gov.au.
There are loads of options for healthy Christmas gift ideas, including:
Event entry. Give your friend, colleague or family member a 2019 health goal. This could vary from the Newcastle Harbour Swim on Australia Day or the Nobbys 2 Newcastle Ocean Swim the following day to triathlons, running events and adventure races. There are kids’ and relay options in some of the events as well.
Gym membership. Depending on your budget, this could be anything from a monthly pass to a 12-month membership. It could be some personal training sessions or some small group fitness. It could also be a pool pass.
Gift voucher. There is a cost involved in being healthy so this gives you a range of places to select from and could include gyms, sports gear shops, massage therapists or healthy food suppliers.
Newcastle Harbour Swim Classic, Newcastle, January 26: Enter a 700m single crossing of the harbour from Stockton Wharf or a 1.4km double crossing, starting and finishing at Queens Wharf. There are prize purses of $1000 (first), $500 (second) and $250 (third) for male and female races.
Nobbys 2 Newcastle Ocean Swim, Newcastle, January 27: Back up with the 2km ocean swim from Nobbys beach to Newcastle beach.
NewRun 2019, Newcastle, April 7: Options are 5km, 10km, 21.1km or a new flat marathon (42.2km) course. There is also a kids 2km.
Set 1: 40 squats with alternating shoulder press, 20 push-ups, 40 alternating lunges, 20 pull-ups/rows, 40 ab rotation, run/walk 200 metres. Walking recovery.
Set 2: 30 squats with alternating shoulder press, 15 push-ups, 30 alternating lunges, 15 pull-ups/rows, 30 ab rotation, run/walk 400 metres. Walking recovery.
Set 3: 20 squats with alternating shoulder press, 10 push-ups, 20 alternating lunges, 10 pull-ups/rows, 20 ab rotation, run/walk 600 metres. Walking recovery.
Set 4: 10 squats with alternating shoulder press, 5 push-ups, 10 alternating lunges, 5 pull-ups/rows, 10 ab rotation, run/walk 800 metres. Walking recovery.
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Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.
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