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Happy Eating For A Happy Weight

Men's Health Week Spotlight

Happy Eating For A Happy Weight

Each day this Men’s Health Week, we've put the spotlight on real issues facing men, today it's the touchy topic of weight management.

While TV advertising and billboards would have you believe it’s women who have a problem with being overweight, the figures are well and truly stacked against men in the battle of the bulge.

Research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows 70 per cent of Australian men are overweight or obese, compared to 56 per cent of women.

Carrying those extra kilos does put people at a risk of a whole host of health concerns including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnoea.

Clinical psychologist Louise Adams specialises in eating disorders, and says it's not as simple as just shedding weight, "we think it's so simple, we think we can just men go and lose weight, because when you're at a heavier weight there's risk factors involved, and if you lose that weight you'll be healthy, just like you've always been thin. The fact is science doesn't back that up at all".

Last year a study by the University of Newcastle asked a group of men aged between 12 and 25 what hindered and motivated them to eat healthy and exercise.

The top three responses were: the perceived effort, logistics such as cost, and social factors such as peer influence. When it came to getting enough physical activity, the young men blamed lifestyles, thoughts and feelings of inferiority, and social factors for getting in the way.

"Once we attach a weight to 'healthy or unhealthy', then we're all going to get really paranoid, and do quite unhealthy things in pursuit of that weight", says Adams. "Obsession with weight is not healthy, having a relaxed attitude to food and an enjoyable relationship to movement is much more healthy".

So the take away from this is... the take-away is okay. Louise Adams wants us to have less of a focus on weight of a measure of health, and simply ask yourself, how are you looking after your body today?