World Health Day: Food Security Key Issue Globally
To celebrate the anniversary of the World Health Organization’s founding on 7 April 1948 the Organization promotes World Health Day with the theme this year being, ‘from farm to plate, make food safe’.
Mary Barry, National CEO of the Heart Foundation said unlike many places in the world, we are incredibly lucky here in that our food supply is mostly safe.
“In Australia the biggest dangers come from our own choices or having too many choices.”
“This World Health Day, let’s take charge of the things we can control in our lives. Our diet and physical activity” Ms Barry said.
Recently released data showed Australians spend more than $7.16 billion on fast foods every year.
“We recommend cooking at home most of the time-because when you make a dish from scratch, you know exactly what it has been made from.”
“The Heart Foundation recommends a simple diet is best, eat a variety of wholefoods everyday and include vegetables, wholegrains, fruit, nuts and seeds and low fat dairy. Choose healthier fats and oils such as olive oil and limit sugary, fatty and salty take-away meals and snacks.”
“Most importantly, drink mainly water, as sugar sweetened beverages have no nutritional value whatsoever” she said.
In the past 30 years, overweight and obesity in Australia has close to doubled. If current trends continue, by 2025, close to 80% of all Australian adults and one third of our children will be overweight or obese.
“We know that the majority of Australians are not eating high quality diets in line with the national guidelines, a scary fact as your food choices can play a big role in your overall health and wellbeing,” Ms Barry said.
The latest Australian Health Survey found that almost 70% of adults are eating biscuits and cakes daily, while only 7% are eating enough fruit and vegetables daily.
“Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease with fat around your vital organs – your heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas can stop these organs from doing their job properly.”
“Even if your BMI is normal, a waistline of greater than 94cm for most men and 80cm for most women puts you at increased risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”
“A healthy eating plan that is balanced and which has moderation front and centre is easier to follow and has longer term benefits. You need to look for the everyday opportunities to be healthy such as taking the stairs over the lift, limiting your intake of salty, sugary and fatty snack foods, and not smoking.”
“It has been our long held belief that it’s important to keep messages simple, practical and easy to follow because when it gets too difficult, complex and expensive, it’s more likely that people give up all together,” Ms Barry said.