Concerning new data has revealed Western Victoria has one of the nation’s highest proportions of overweight and obese adults.
About 77 per cent of adults in the Western Victoria Primary Health Network (WVPHN) area, which includes the Geelong region, were overweight or obese in 2017-18, according to the data.
Across Australia, about 67 per cent of adults were considered overweight or obese, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures.
Chelsea Gunther, Barwon Health Healthy Communities communications officer, said healthier eating and active living are priority health issues for the G21 region.
“Access to nutritious food and leading an active life improves our health and wellbeing, and
many people in the region do not meet the healthy eating and physical activity guidelines,” Ms Gunther said.
“This contributes to high rates of obesity and a range of chronic diseases including heart
disease, cancer and diabetes.
“Barwon Health’s specific healthier eating and active living priority areas include: decreasing the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages; increasing water consumption; increasing vegetable consumption; and, increasing incidental activity.”
Ms Gunther said Barwon Health worked with the whole of the community in the places they live, learn, work and play, recognising that health is not just an outcome of individual behaviour choices.
“The Healthy Communities team works collectively with other organisations in the region to
develop, implement and evaluate health initiatives using a range of strategies, including
health policy, advocacy, social marketing and through encouraging structural and
environmental changes,’ she said.
WVPHN CEO Rowena Clift said the obesity rate across the region continues to be a focus. “Our emphasis on preventative health aligns with both the commonwealth and state governments’ preventative health strategies, which encourages healthier lifestyles in order to decrease illness rates and maximise early detection and management of chronic conditions,” Ms Clift said.
“There are a range of initiatives funded by Western Victoria PHN that support the community
to live healthier lives.
“This funding is provided to health care professionals and local health services who then work with patients and clients to improve their health, especially those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.”
Ms Clift said the PHN continued to focus on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, to not only keep chronic conditions at bay, but also to maintain good mental health.
Source: Geelong Advertiser, Published 30 November 2020
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