Australians who made a New Year’s resolution to lose weight can count on some help to reach their target weight.
Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek encouraged people to sign up to a free 12-week planner and make changes towards a healthier lifestyle. The 12-week planner allows people to set short and long-term goals about what they want to achieve, and then plan their meals and physical activity accordingly.
The 12-week planner is part of the Australian Government’s “Swap It, Don’t Stop It” campaign, which provides suggestions to show you how you can make small changes to your diet and lifestyle to help you lose weight and be healthy.
“Many of us enjoy our Christmas break a little too much when it comes to what we eat and drink, while not getting as much exercise as we intend,” Ms Plibersek said.
“But we can make good on those New Year’s resolutions by making small changes to our diet and lifestyle, that can make a big difference to our health over a period of time.”
According to the 2007-08 National Health Survey, 68% of adult men and 55% of adult women are overweight or obese. If weight gain continues at current levels, by 2020, 80% of all Australian adults and a third of all children will be overweight or obese.
The cost of obesity not only affects individuals but is also a huge drain on the nation’s economy. In 2008 alone, obesity cost Australia a massive $58.2 billion given its associations with type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease and colorectal, breast, uterine and kidney cancer.
“The Government is providing unprecedented support to keep people healthy and out of hospital. Australia needs a health care system that keeps people well, not just one that looks after them when they are sick,” Ms Plibersek said.
A new 12-week interactive planner was launched in November and is now available on the Swap It website – australia.gov.au/swapit. It can be downloaded or used interactively online.
The Swap It iPhone application is also available on the website as a free download. The Swap It app offers the ability to track personal progress over a 12-week period and earn badges when reaching milestones as a ‘swapper’. There is also an ingredient planner to help people choose healthier food alternatives, and a shopping list feature.
“Swapping some food choices for healthier options and looking for opportunities to be physically active doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you enjoy,” Ms Plibersek said.
The Swap It website makes suggestions such as swapping fried food for fresh food, swapping fizzy drinks for water, riding your bike instead of driving the car and even walking to deliver a message rather than sending an email.
Swap It, Don’t Stop It is the second phase of the Government’s anti-obesity campaign Measure Up. The Commonwealth is providing funding of $41 million to 2013 for the campaign.
For more information, or to order campaign materials, visit australia.gov.au/swapit
(Source: The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP Minister for Health)
For more information on obesity, health and social issues, and methods of weight loss, as well as some useful tools, see Obesity and Weight Loss.
For more information on staying healthy in the New Year, including tips on diet, partying, exercise and general health, see Health in the New Year.