Only 7% of Australians are ‘healthy’

Deakin University researchers say according to their recent study, only 7 per cent of Australians are considered ‘healthy’, based on their health behaviour score. Find out if you’re one of them.

Researchers have developed a tool to measure a person’s overall health called a ‘health behaviour score’.

It’s based on five factors: the quality of your diet, if you’ve ever smoked, how physically active you are, how much time you spend sitting down or being inactive, and how much sleep you get every night.

The higher the score, the healthier you are considered to be.

In order to get a score of five out of five, a person must:

  • not smoke
  • meet most Australian Dietary Guidelines
  • get around 150 minutes exercise or more a week (roughly 30 minutes 5 times a week)
  • spend less than 8 hours sitting down or inactive every day, and
  • get around 7 to 9 hours sleep every night.

A recent study from Deakin’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition looked at 4609 adults between 19 and 85 years old who took part in the Australian National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey.

Only seven per cent of those surveyed met all five recommendations.

Those who met three, four or five of the criteria were found to have lower rates of hypertension (high blood pressure), and were less likely to be obese or overweight.

Bupa Australia’s Dr Tim Ross encourages people to try to remain active during the working day, with many office workers spending long periods of time sitting at their desks.

“Due to the sedentary nature of Western lifestyle, most people would fail on the exercise requirement which ties in directly with the time in sedentary activity.”

We as a society need to do more to support healthy lifestyles, particularly in the way workplaces and expectations are structured.
Dr Tim Ross, Bupa GP

“If you spend long periods of time sitting, consider making one work meeting a day a walking meeting, or if you’re catching up with a friend for a coffee, try catching up for a walk, bike ride, or a game of tennis or golf, instead.”

Almost two thirds of Australian adults are overweight or obese, with the proportion of obese adults continuing to rise.

Being overweight or obese can lead to major health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

More than a third of Australian adults have hypertension (high blood pressure) – a significant risk factor for heart attack, kidney failure and stroke.

Indigenous Australians, people outside major cities and those in lower socioeconomic groups are more likely to fall into these categories.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to prevent and treat both obesity and hypertension.

It’s hoped that by encouraging people to work out their own health behaviour score, it can help people understand the areas they need to work on to become healthier and combat some of the biggest health issues in Australia.

Use this tool to calculate your BMI and find out if you're considered to be within a healthy weight range.

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