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Preventing Excess Weight Gain...
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of overweight children and adults in Australia over the last 20 years. Surveys suggest that Australians are becoming less active but eating more.
By: Connect Fitness
thus one of the greatest health challenges we face in the 21st century. We
all know how hard it is to loose those extra kilo’s, once they’ve appeared.
For children and adolescents we need to ensure adequate food intake for
normal growth, without overdoing it.
Does being overweight affect my health?
Carrying too much fat can be a strain on the body. Blood pressure and the
level of fats in the blood may go up increasing risk of heart disease or stroke.
These lead to an increase in the risk of heart disease and stroke. The chance
of developing certain types of diabetes is markedly increased later in life.
Pains in the lower back and arthritis are more common and the risk of some
cancers is increased. If we can prevent excess weight gain in childhood and
in adulthood, we can reduce our risk of many of these health problems.
Why are we getting fatter?
Each day of our lives our bodies take on fuel through the food we eat. We
constantly burn this fuel over the day as we move about. The more we
move, the more fuel we burn. If, at the end of a day, the body has fuel left
over it is stored as fat – body weight increases a little. On the other hand, if
we burn off more fuel than we have taken on board, the body will use up
some of its stored fat – body weight falls a little.
When body weight is stable the balance of food intake and physical activity
is close to perfect, we will prevent excess weight gain. If weight
is increasing the system is out of balance. This may be as a result of
eating too much food, doing to little physical activity, or both.
So why are Australians getting fatter? It is probably a combination of both
less activity and more food. No doubt we are less active than we used to
be. Hard, physical labour is a thing of the past for most people. Much of our
work and leisure time is spent looking at a computer or television screen.
The large variety of foods and drinks available today are part of the problem
too. Many foods are high in kilojoules (food energy) and low in fibre and
water content. We call these foods energy dense foods. Sugary drinks have
also become increasingly popular. Foods and drinks are now very tasty
and portion sizes have increased. From surveys in Australia we know that
people’s energy intakes are also increasing. For example over the decade
from the mid ‘80s till the mid ‘90s, adolescents increased their energy intakes
by more than 10%. It is easy to eat too much.
Preventing excess weight gain
There is no secret to preventing excess weight gain. It’s
a matter of finding the balance between food intake
and physical activity. The best approach is to make
permanent changes to both food and activity habits.
Increasing physical activity burns fuel – burns fat. The
amount of fat burned off will depend on two things
- how often you are active and for how long. Aim to
be active every day. Put together at least 30 minutes of
moderate physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
The best kind of physical activity is the one you like the
most. Many people find walking easy and enjoyable.
Also, try to be active in everyday life. Small amounts of
activity, just moving about rather than sitting, all add up
at the end of the day.
Not putting too much fuel in your body is vital to getting the
balance right. Needless to say, keep the amounts you eat (portions)
moderate in size. Green and yellow and orange vegetables are the exception to the rule.
Eat as much of these as you can - they are filling yet low in kilojoules.
Fats are the richest source of kilojoules. Moderating the amount of fat in your meals will help limit your fuel intake. Remember that some commercial foods labelled
“low fat” sometimes have about the same kilojoules as their non-low
fat equivalent. Read the labels. Focus on cutting down on the not-so healthy
saturated fats. Use the healthy fats in moderation. Eat plenty
of fruits and vegetables - they are rich in nutrients, fibre and water,
but low in kilojoules.
Drinks are important. Sugary soft drinks, fruit drinks and cordials
contain lots of kilojoules but are not as filling as solid foods and are
easy to over-consume. Alcoholic drinks can increase appetite. Sugary
and alcoholic drinks are sometimes called ‘empty kilojoules’ – they
provide plenty of fuel without many essential nutrients to go with
them. Consider alternatives to sugary soft drinks such as water or
‘diet’ soft drinks.
Please be advised that you are solely responsible for the way this information is perceived and utilised. Please see your physician before changing your diet or starting an exercise program.
For more information see source Go for 2 & 5 http://www.gofor2and5.com.au/
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Connect Fitness is a not for profit organisation located on the grounds of the University of Western Sydney with 4 Gyms now in operation over the Kingswood, Hawkesbury, Bankstown & Campbelltown campuses.