Whether you live in Cape York or Coolangatta, the rest of the world envies Queenslanders for our outdoor lifestyle and environment.
And yet many of us are held back by the burdens of unhealthy weight, lack of adequate physical activity, and diets that leave a lot to be desired on the nutritional front.
In fact, right now one in four Queensland children are overweight or obese, and two in three Queensland adults tip the scales at an unhealthy weight.
This week, the State Government has launched a new bid to help all of us reach, and maintain, our healthiest weight.
The new $20 million Healthy Futures Commission has set a great goal to help us reduce rates of childhood obesity by 10 per cent and increase the physical activity levels of all Queenslanders by 20 per cent – by the year 2026.
And if we work together, we can make it happen.
While it won’t be easy, we have gotten off to an important head-start, with recent data showing rates of obesity have steadied for Queensland adults and children. Importantly, childhood rates of obesity have not increased since 2007/08, although as a community we must do much more if we want these rates to decrease.
The new Healthy Futures Commission will provide vital grants for Queensland businesses, community organisations, government agencies, and academic institutions to help reverse our unhealthy habits.
We applaud the Government for its efforts to inspire Queenslanders to be more active, eat healthier diets, and achieve a healthy weight – harnessing innovative ideas to help reduce our long-term risks of chronic disease.
The commission is an important piece of the puzzle enabling us to address preventable illness and disease in Queensland, consolidating $20 million in grants and providing a great leap forward as part of a much bigger community-wide mission.
Along with the role of Government, we can all do more to ensure we eat healthy diets and exercise every day, working with our communities to make a healthy life the easiest life to live.
There are great gains to be made with small increases in activity and slight adjustments to the daily diet, supported by policy measures which enable us all to achieve our healthiest potential.
In terms of our next generation of Queenslanders, not only does exercise help keep children energised, it also helps with growth, development, and overall physical, mental, and psychological wellbeing.
In adults too, plentiful physical activity helps to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including some cancers.
Children aged five to 12 years should aim for at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity every day.
We recommend adults aim for at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity activity every day.
Spend time outdoors – running around and playing at the park, swimming, hiking as a family, playing tennis or cracking out the cricket set for a bit of backyard fun.
On days you can’t fit in more than 30 minutes of exercise, make an intentional effort to increase your incidental activity to improve wellbeing – it all adds up to a healthier you.
The benefits to losing weight are an increased sense of wellbeing, greater health and reduced risk of a range of chronic diseases, including some cancers.
The Queensland community agrees. Our Everyday Health Survey on nutrition shows the community want to see an improvement in food labelling, more community gardens and a higher tax on junk food and drinks to help people live healthy.
Exercise-equivalent labelling, reducing the salt and sugar content in packaged foods, banning soft drink vending machines and the marketing of soft drinks to children are all strategies and initiatives we can adopt for a healthier Queensland.
For us to see a dramatic drop in rates of overweight and obesity across Queensland – we need the help of Governments, community organisations and friends and family around us, to nurture healthy habits for the long term.
There’s no better time to begin than right now!
We will work hard, with you and with Government, to ensure a happier and healthier Queensland over the next decade.
Ms Chris McMillan
CEO, Cancer Council Queensland
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Media and Spokesperson,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5372
Mobile: 0409 001 171