Here is a post that I wrote from StevenBaker.com.au:
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics 2008, National Health Survey 2007-08
61.4% of the Australian population are either overweight or obese.
- 42.1% of adult males and 30.9% of adult females were classified as overweight (Body Mass Index between 25.0 and 30.0 kg/m2).
- 25.6% of males and 24% of females were classified as obese (Body Mass Index > 30.0 kg/m2).
But what is more concerning is the interrelationship between obesity and depression. With more and more Australians hitting an unhealthy weight range the increase of depression is occurring.
“A well-designed study published in the July 2006 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry supports… that mood and anxiety disorders were around 25% more common in the obese participants compared to their thinner counterparts… While the researchers found a connection, they could not determine the direction of the connection. In other words, they couldn’t tell if the excess weight led to the depression or the depression lead to excess weight. Several theories could support either direction” (1)
Closer to home, Beyond Blue is able to recognise the link between obesity and depression. So much so they were funded almost $100,000 for research. “Data from this research will also benefit the Australian population to better understand the link between stress, depression and obesity.” (2)
What is more concerning is the interrelationship between the obesity and depression. Research seems to point at the more obese you are the less likely you are to exercise, which ultimately leads to depression. Or simultaneously depression can lead to a reduction in physical activity and the turn to comfort food that are high in fat or sugar. (3)
For the most part excess weight has a negative impact on everyone except Sumo wrestlers, who despite their size are able to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. What is clear here that weight management is the key to happiness. The Dalai Lama says “We need to think seriously about the causes of happiness. Good result, happy result, entirely depends on good action, constructive action.” (4) “It’s an idea that’s in line with current thinking in psychology. In fact, this simple philosophy – that changing the way we think can change the way we feel – underpins the very practice of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), an approach widely used in clinical psychology and counselling, as well as stress management programs.” (5)
More recently the Australian Government has released a new campaign to promote a fit and healthy life style. Entitled ‘Swap It’ the campaign aims to get Australians to start making healthier choices in life. Become a swapper.
“The choice to swap is only one percentage of the chance to live.”
1. Weight Watches: http://www.weightwatchers.com.au/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=37371&sc=808
2. Beyond Blue: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/index.aspx?link_id=6.1207
3. TheUniversity of Adelaide: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news35941.html
4. Dalai Lama: http://www.dalailama.com/news/post/218-dalai-lama-offers-words-of-wisdom-about-happiness
5. ABC: http://www.abc.net.au/health/features/stories/2007/10/11/2054844.htm