Embarrassing Bodies Down Under

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight

Australians are getting fatter. 3 out of 5 adults and 1 out of 4 kids are either overweight or obese. Dr Sam from Embarrassing Bodies Down Under tells you more.

Being overweight is a significant risk factor for very serious diseases such as, heart attacks, strokes, cancer and diabetes. But it's also linked with conditions such as mental health problems, depression and anxiety.

The most accurate and scientific ways will involve throwing you in a special bath or to do these special Dexa scans and or X-Ray scans that measure very closely your body fat, but that's really difficult to achieve for most people. The simplest thing to do at home is firstly look at your weight. When we jump on the scales we're measuring our total body weight, and our total bodyweight is made up of our muscles, bones and our organs, and then our body fat. But it's actually the level of body fat that's associated with all these diseases and all the conditions and the problems. We need to look at whether your body fat is too excessive. Athlete's and bodybuilders might actually be overweight when they jump on the scales but it's because of their high muscle mass, their body fat is actually low and their risk is actually low.

The next thing we can do is look at your body mass index, which looks at your height and your weight and the relationship. It's not perfect but it's a very good way of gauging whether you're overweight or underweight.

And the last thing we look at is your body size. Where is that body fat distributed? For blokes when they're putting on a lot of fat, it tends to be around the abdomen. For ladies it tends to be more around the hips and the bum and then to a degree around the abdomen, but it's this abdominal fat that's most closely linked with your risk of heart attacks, strokes cancers and everything else.

We can maintain a healthy weight by controlling the energy that comes into our body by what we eat and the energy going out of our body by how much we exercise. It's important to eat a healthy balanced diet that's low in the high rich energy dense foods and preferably lower in fat. So avoid the takeaways, eat good fresh wholesome foods, replace high energy and high sugar based drinks such as alcohol fruit juices milk and coffee with simple things such as water.

When we're looking at your exercise, we want to have a minimum of at least 30 minutes a day at least 5 days a week. The exercise that you do, it's got to be intense. You've got to feel as though you're working hard. You should be breaking a bit of a sweat. You should be breathing hard. Your legs should be sore, your arms should be sore.

Now what do you do if the gym's not for you? Look you've got to get out there, you've got to be active and incidental exercise is important. If you catch the bus to work, you now walk a few extra bus stops before you jump on. Go to the cafe on the other side of the city for lunch rather than the one at the bottom of your building. Get out in the garden. Take your dog out for a walk. Walk the kids to the shops rather than throwing them into the car. Incidental exercise is the key.

 
 

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