A Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy CHAT / Section One: Introduction
What are the most common lifestyle risk factors for chronic disease in Australia? REF
See the letters ‘REF‘ at the end of the sentence above? This indicates that the sentence has a reference which provides more details about where that information was sourced. Hover your mouse over the letters and you will see the Reference. You can click on the hyperlink in the reference to learn more.
Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (2019). Australia’s Health 2018.
Kills almost 19,000 Australians a year and is responsible for 9% of the total burden of disease.
Only 5% of Australians eat the recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables. Two thirds of Australian adults are overweight or obese.
One in five men and one in eleven women consume alcohol at levels that are harmful to their health.
Just 15% of adults aged 18-64 years and 26% aged 65+ years meet physical activity guidelines.
All of these risk factors are modifiable – they can be reduced through lifestyle change and this is shown to improve health outcomes for people.
But it can be challenging for people to make those lifestyle changes. Often people aren’t even aware of the link between health behaviours and disease. For example in 2015, less than half of Australians knew that diet, activity or smoking were risk factors for heart disease. REF
Hoare, E., Stavreski, B., Kingwell, B. A., & Jennings, G. L. (2017). Australian adults’ behaviours, knowledge and perceptions of risk factors for heart disease: A cross-sectional study. Preventive medicine reports, 8, 204–209. doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2017.10.007
Challenges to making lifestyle changes are well-recognised as seen in the diagram at right: REF
Twyman, L., Bonevski, B., Paul, C., & Bryant, J. (2014). Perceived barriers to smoking cessation in selected vulnerable groups: a systematic review of the qualitative and quantitative literature BMJ Open 2014;4:e006414. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006414
Hover over each category to get a list of challenges.
Specific challenges to a healthy lifestyle include psychological distress associated with cultural identity, trauma, history, racism, marginalisation, and socioeconomic disadvantage.
Cultural obligations may influence participation in healthy activities, and lack of cultural safety may lead to distrust of existing health systems.
Reference: Waterworth, P., Pescud, M., Braham, R., Dimmock, J., Rosenberg, M. (2015) Factors Influencing the Health Behaviour of Indigenous Australians: Perspectives from Support People. PLoS ONE 10(11): e0142323. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0142323
Stressful life factors
Lack of family/friend support
Lack of access to cessation resources
Physical addiction or behavioural habit
Low motivation, anxiety and depression
Reluctance to acknowledge they have a problem
Uncomfortable in disclosing out of fear of being judged
Low perceived risk of harm
Too busy/Time constraints
Previously unsuccessfully attempts