The National Heart Foundation of Australia is concerned that heart disease rates could start to rise again after a new report showed that Australians have become heavier, less active and are eating fewer vegetables over the last decade.
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Released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the report found:
- On average men and women are 3.6kg and 2.8kg heavier respectively
- The proportion of adults whose waist circumference puts them at risk of chronic disease (more than 94cm for men and 80cm for women) has risen from 45% to 60%
- Around 70% of adults are not active enough to get any health benefits
- 93% of adults are not eating the recommended five serves of vegetables a day
- Smoking rates are falling with the greatest decline seen in adults 18-24
"This is a bad report card for Australia's health - we're getting Fs in almost every area which means that heart disease rates could start rising again," said Dr Lyn Roberts - National CEO of the Heart Foundation.
"For many people a healthier lifestyle gets dumped in the 'too hard basket', but there are simple changes you can make today that will add up to a big difference - visit heartfoundation.org.au/mumsunited for recipes and practical tips and tools.
"We also need Governments to do more to make healthier choices easier for Australians.
"The good news from this report is that smoking rates continue to fall, which shows what can be achieved with a combination of Government policy and public education.
"Now we have to tackle overweight and obesity using a comprehensive approach similar to the one we took towards tobacco," Dr Roberts said.
The Heart Foundation is part of the Federal Government's Food and Health Dialogue, which aims to reduce the salt and saturated fat levels in commonly eaten foods.
"While the Dialogue has made a good start, increased funding is desperately needed to really super-charge the food reformulation agenda by introducing targets for more food categories more quickly and supporting that work with public education campaigns," Dr Roberts said.
"An active travel strategy also has to be developed to encourage walking, cycling and public transport use," she added.
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