Gold Coast Health is helping families to improve their lifestyle during Australia’s Healthy Weight Week.
With almost two in every three Australians considered overweight or obese, Senior Health Promotion Officer Helen Clifford said there were simple steps Gold Coasters could take to make healthier choices the easier choices.
“Obesity is a serious community health issue and has led to an increase in preventable health conditions that negatively impact Gold Coast locals, their families and the greater community,” she said.
“A healthy choice can be as simple as keeping less high fat or high sugar snacks in the pantry, learning to read and understand food labels or eating breakfast every day.”
With a Community Health and Wellbeing Strategy in development, Gold Coast Health is working with other health and non-health organisations, local government and universities to drive a coordinated approach to reducing the obesity stigma in our community.
“We’re looking to create healthier places where people live, work, learn, play and shop as well as empowering Gold Coasters with the knowledge, positive attitudes, motivation and skills to live healthy lives,” Ms Clifford said.
Gold Coast Health also places an emphasis on supporting healthier food choices for inpatients as it prepares more than 580,000 patient meals each year.
Director of Nutrition and Food Services, Alan Spencer said unlike the broader community which faced an obesity crisis, one of the major issues facing a large number of hospital patients was malnutrition.
“Many people think a dietitian mostly assists overweight people lose weight, but in the hospital environment we deal with patients who are underweight or overweight but are malnourished due to an inability to eat adequately to meet their needs,” he said.
“We often see a loss of appetite as a side effect of their disease or their medication, so part of our role is to educate patients about how to change their diet to improve their nutrient intake to aid their recovery process.
“We aim to screen all patients admitted to hospital for malnutrition, so that the appropriate dietary support can be provided as early as possible to maximise their nutrition,” Mr Spencer said.
As the largest employer in the city, Gold Coast Health encourages its 8500 staff to adopt and promote healthy lifestyles as well.
Employees participated in an Australia’s Healthy Weight Week event on Thursday which featured cooking demonstrations, a bicycle that blends smoothies, advice on exercise options from Griffith University’s exercise physiology unit, a nutritious lunch and smart eating tips and recipes.
Gold Coast Health supports Australia’s Healthy Weight Week, an initiative of the Dietitians Association of Australia, which aims to encourage more Australians to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
For more information visit www.healthyweightweek.com.au