Preventative Medicine: Healthy Kai Kai & Deadly Exercise

As primary healthcare doctors we have the privilege of educating and promoting good health amongst our patients. We know that preventive medicine is essential in reducing the morbidity and mortality of chronic disease including the most commonly seen here in Torres Strait Islanders: cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

How do you promote healthy eating and physical activity with your patients? We would love to hear from you! Sent us a tweet @Island_Docs

Obesity & Healthy Kai Kai:

Having an adult patient who weighs >100kg or child >70kg in my consultation room is not an uncommon occurrence. Almost two in three Australian adults are overweight or obese. Indigenous adults are 1.6 times as likely to be obese as non-Indigenous Australians and higher proportions of Torres Strait Islanders are overweight/obese than in the Aboriginal population. Obesity alone is estimated to contribute 16% of the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the total Australian population. Here are a few useful resources our friendly nutritionists here in the Torres uses to educate and empower our communities to eat healthy.

Patient Resources:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Guide to Healthy Eating 

Healthy Cooking Choices Patient Infomation

The Portion Guide Patient Infomation Sheet

Good Food for Good Sugars

Physical Inactivity & Deadly Exercise:

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide! Over 80% of children and young people didn’t meet physical activity recommendations in 2014-15, and over 50% of Australians aged over 18 years were sedentary or had low levels of exercise. Yet despite these staggering statistics medical professionals fail to prescribe exercise, as described by an article in the MJA this month. We know that exercise is an effective and evidence-based medicine in preventing and managing chronic disease. As primary healthcare doctors we should be aiming for our patients to be undertaking at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Add this article to your favourites page – it’s a neat review of the evidence in prescribing exercise for 26 different chronic diseases. Here are also a few resources that are helpful in educating and motivating your patients to increase their physical activity.

Patient Resources:

Weight and Your Health

Active as a Family

Girls Make your Move

Australia’s Physical Activity Guidelines

Further Reading:

National Preventative Health Strategy

Healthy Start: Closing the Gap on Indigenous Childhood Obesity 

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