Obesity problem balloons in region

MURRUMBIDGEE residents have lived off the fat of the land for too long as new statistics revealed 32 per cent of the region’s population was classified as obese. 

According to a recent report by the National Health Performance Authority, the Murrumbidgee was among the top five regions for obesity in NSW.

The report was the first time Australia’s obesity problem had been analysed region by region and showed the bush battles the bulge more than slim city slickers.

Local fitness instructor Mel Fawcett said despite an explosion in the number of Griffith gyms, residents were intimidated by the notion of getting fit. 

“The main problem is money. Healthy food costs a lot more than fast food,” Ms Fawcett said.

“It’s also a problem with the way kids are brought up by their families.

“If kids have been brought up on fast food and little exercise, then they won’t know any better as adults.

“But another major problem is that despite having a lot of gyms in Griffith, people are intimidated to walk into a gym because they think it’s only for fit people and guys that are body building.”

When the number of obese residents was combined with locals classed as overweight, the rate climbed to 66 per cent. 

Ms Fawcett said the hardest step for anyone considering joining a gym was making initial contact but her clients soon realised their reticence was irrational. 

“When it comes to losing weight, activity is very important but 80 per cent of the battle is won in the kitchen,” she said.

“Diet is the key to any weight loss.”

In comparison to Murrumbidgee’s 32 per cent obesity, Sydney’s North Shore and northern beaches had the lowest obesity rate in Australia at 14 per cent. 

The director of the study, Diane Wilson, said obesity rates varied from 14 per cent in Sydney’s North Shore to almost three times higher in nearby Lodden-Mallee-Murray.

“Using our local-level analysis, clinicians and health managers can now better target and drive health system improvements specific to their local community’s needs,” Performance Authority CEO Dr Diane Watson said.

“Rates of adult obesity have been rising very rapidly over time, while smoking rates have been falling nationally. 

“The health and economic impact of obesity and smoking can be extremely serious.”

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