Lucky country? No shrinking violet

Here in Australia, we are lucky to live in such a fortunate country with a high quality education and health system, relatively low levels of unemployment, an enviable lifestyle and plenty of opportunity  for all. However maybe all the privilege is making us complacent. A growing trend is coming to light that should frighten us all.

We are expanding at a rapid rate – new research has found that more than 6 out of 10 Australian adults are too fat to be healthy. We may comfort ourselves with thinking – don’t worry we are not as bad as the United States – when actually we are not far behind. A new report places Australia as the 4th fattest country, only behind the USA, Mexico and New Zealand*.

Disturbing facts:

  • 10.8 million Australian adults are obese or overweight2.
  • 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese3.
  • At the current rate, it is predicted that 65 per cent of young Australians will be overweight or obese by 20204.

Most people have a general understanding of the negative health effects of being overweight. But are you completely aware of the seriousness of these? Did you know that being overweight/obese is 3rd on the list of causes for disease – only beaten by smoking and high blood pressure3? The Australian National University and the Heart Foundation recently discovered that for every five point increase in Body Mass Index (BMI), your risk of a heart attack increases by 23%.

Stop for a moment and consider the following questions:

  • Do you regularly exercise?
  • Do you follow a healthy diet?
  • Do you know your BMI?

If you answered no to any of the above questions, perhaps you should take action, rather than becoming another statistic. Don’t forget about loved ones either. You should be equally concerned about overweight family and friends.

If the effects on your health aren’t worrying enough, what about the financial implications? Being overweight or obese is going to significantly affect your insurance premiums, greatly increasing the cost of Life, TPD, Trauma and Income Protection. Insurance companies generally ask for your weight and use your BMI and or waist circumference to assess your risk profile. The associated health risks of being overweight are many, and obesity is viewed as a negative factor that will increase the likelihood that a future claim will be made.

Take advantage of all this country has to offer, get together with friends and be active.

* Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
2 National Health Performance Authority
3 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
4 Better health channel


Source: Capstone Financial Planning.

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