Dec 05

Australians need a little help to battle the bulge



If you’ve been keeping up with news lately you’d hardly be surprised to notice that Australia is facing a preventable health crisis with two in three of us currently overweight or obese.  In Australia, while chronic disease is the leading cause of death and disability, these health challenges affect all sectors in Australia, including the provision of financial advice.

Given these statistics, one might assume that Australians would be working overtime to improve their health, but sadly this does not appear to be the case. Many of us, when faced with a decision about whether or not to eat a fruit salad over a sweet treat, often decide to take the short-term reward of enjoying a tasty treat, despite the long term health consequences that may result from doing so.

So, what can we do to get Australians more motivated to improve their health, particularly with the festive season fast approaching – while a significant time for Australian families to celebrate, it’s also ultimately a time that many put on weight.

AIA Australia conducted a survey of 1,300 Australians aged between 25-45 years to find out what it is that ‘turns us on’ and also prevents us from improving our health, including exercise and eating well. The research revealed that nearly 90 per cent of us wish we were more motivated to create and sustain a healthier quality of life, but that crucial willpower alone is not enough to sustain healthy habits.

Three-quarters of Australians found that rewarding themselves when reaching their fitness goals successfully motivated them to get off the couch. Eating something tasty, as a reward after a workout session, was the most popular source of exercise motivation, favoured by 40 per cent of both men and women.

Looking at the results, it is clear that Australians need to find their own personal motivational techniques to get healthier. From wanting to look good at a friend’s wedding, or being able to keep up with the grandkids, everyone has a different motivator that needs to be harnessed.

No one is immune to the health challenges Australia faces. Many private sector organisations can play a role in helping solve our soaring obesity and chronic disease rates. By tapping into what can motivate and incentivise each of us to improve our health, we can have a better chance of overcoming this crisis.  

Source: AIA, October 2014

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