Why does a blank page always seem to call for song lyrics or a quote? I will restrain myself… temporarily. Over the next few years this blog site will become the repository for observations from my postgraduate work and clinical practice regarding weight loss, health promotion, physical activity and exercise. Much of the research remains unpublished in peer reviewed journals. Formal academic writing just was not my thing. I live in hope that the value of this work is best communicated in conversation style with people who might be seeking to understand and improve their own personal circumstances.
I worry about the health of our nation. My quite moments, most of them on the bike, are a churn of ideas about how we might structure ourselves and our society to ‘float down’ the population overweight and obese OWO figures that have ‘floated up’. It is hard to ignore how thin people appear on our travels around the world. Each trip brings more quesstions about how to stop this juggernaut of social forces that are leading to such an excess of body fat here at home. Fat shaming is ‘not helpful’… that is in quotes because it is a euphamism for ‘cruel and damaging’ … it is IMO equally unhelpful to avoid discussion of reducing body weight in the portion of our population who feel burdened by their weight. Health is all about empowerment and agency over our physical form… but I am sure those themes will emerge repeatedly over the course of this blog.
One of those as yet unrealised churning ideas is to return to all the bi-annual reports published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare… that I wryly refer to as Wealth and Helfare given the political context of recent years. My first foray into the 1988 and 1990 reports revealed a historical population figure for OWO of 36% for adult women and 42% for adult men. Quite shocking levels for those times 30 years ago, a target of reducing that figure to 25% was set for the Year 2000.
We missed that target in spectacular fashion… like the peloton sweeping past the break away group. Today, total population estimates of OWO from the 2018 report are 63% of the combined adult population. Ironically, in those intervening years, we have seen the portion of OWO adult men in our country increase from 42% to 71% That is an addition of over 25% of men… stark contrast to the old millenial target of a reduction to 25% of men. Today, total populaton estimates of OWO in Australian adult women are 56%… again an addition of 20% of women rather than a reduction to 25% of women.
So I qualify all comments in this blog with this sentifment:- If you are one of the approximately 1 in 3 Australian adult women or 4 in 10 Australian adult men who we could have expected to be OWO based on observations from the late 1980’s, then live well and prosper. If you think you might be one of the 1 in 5 Australian women or 1 in 4 Australia men who have been swept up against their will in the growth of OWO in our population then I hope these musings about body weight and health promotion are helpful. Your comments will undoubtedly be helpful to me… fuel for churnings and good reason for longer bike rides.