February 13-19 marks the 10th Australia’s Healthy Weight Week (AHWW), aimed at focusing on our health rather than the number on your scales. Initiated by the Dietitians Association of Australia, the campaign promotes smart food choices such as cooking from home. Research has shown that those who cook at home make healthier options due to control of portion sizes and the removal of added fats, sugars and salts when preparing their own meals (Jones et.al. 2014).
The underlying push for the campaign is in the frightening statistics. According to the National Nutrition Survey 2014-2015, only 7% (that’s right, SEVEN!) of adults in Australia eat their recommended daily serving of vegetables and 49.8% meet their daily fruit intake (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015). On average, an Australian household is spending $10 a week on fresh vegies (SMH).
Predictions on future health estimate that only one in four adults will be in a healthy weight range by 2031-2032 (Nichols, Peterson, Alston & Allender, 2014). At present, 13% of Australians over 15 years of age have reported that they were on a diet for weight loss or other health reasons (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014).
Sadly, as a community, we are still resorting to expensive fad diets in hopes of maintaining a healthy weight range. “What I think is really sad is that we do see people line up year in and year out spending hundreds of dollars on weight loss programs or hundreds of dollars on special foods when really, a weekly commitment to putting more fruit and veg in your shopping trolley could be one of the key factors to initially losing weight and then keeping it off in the long-term” – Clare Collins, Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Newcastle.
The awareness week is not about quick fixes such as fad diets, but rather a promotion to cook at home, learn about portion sizes and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Events throughout the week include activities that encourage movement such as walks and kayaking. Healthy meal options will be promoted in breakfast and morning tea stalls. Competitions will also take place online and at local events. You can watch the AHWW celebrity cook off in Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall, featuring Masterchef alumni Callum Hann and Dr Andrew Rochford on Monday 13 February at 11am. There’s also an Instagram competition – follow @dietitians_association_aus and upload a photo of your home cooked meal to go in the running to win a trip for you and a friend to Adelaide for a private cooking lesson at Sprout Cooking School. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #AHWW2017 and #CookingChallenge.
You can find your local healthy events on the AHWW website.
BodyMatters promotes health at every size. If you’re struggling with an eating disorder or body image issues, contact us to make an appointment with one of our therapists. Our new dietitian, Sally, is now available on Thursdays for appointments.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2014). Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods and Nutrients, 2011-2012.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15. Retrieved on 30 September 2016.
Jones A. et al. Perceived motivators to home food preparation: Focus group findings. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014; 114: 1552-6; Julia A Wolfson and Sara N Bleich. Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention?. Public Health Nutrition.
Nichols M, Peterson K, Alston L, Allender S. Australian heart disease statistics 2014. Melbourne: National Heart Foundation of Australia, 2014.