New report shines a light on failing lifestyles of older Australians.
A new government report has found that older Australians are failing to do the recommended amount of exercise and an ever-increasing percentage are overweight, with 81 per cent of men aged 51 to 70 considered obese.
Heart Foundation director of prevention Julie Anne Mitchell said that poor diet was a leading risk factor for heart disease – the biggest killer of Australians.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report, Nutrition across the life stages, found that across all age groups Australians do not eat enough vegetables, eat too much food that is high in energy and low in nutrients, and are generally consuming too much added sugar, saturated fat and salt.
“More than 53 per cent of premature deaths from heart disease are attributable to poor eating habits and other leading risk factors which include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and physical inactivity,” Ms Mitchell said.
The AIHS report draws on guidelines that recommend adults aged 18–64 complete at least 150 minutes of physical activity across five or more sessions each week,and that those aged 65 and over completing at least 30 minutes of physical activity on five out of seven days.
When the information was analysed in age groups, adults aged 51 to 70 and over, the results were alarming with serious repercussions for diet-related disease. And little had changed in eating patterns since 1995 despite repeated warnings.
Only about two in five (39 per cent) adults aged 51–70 do the recommended amount of physical activity, according to the report, with the levels being similar for men (41 per cent) and women (38 per cent).
Almost three in four (74 per cent) are overweight or obese, with more men (81 per cent) obese than women (67 per cent).
About half (49 per cent) of men and three in five (59 per cent) women were found to have a waist circumference that put them at a substantially increased risk of developing chronic conditions
Overall, adults in this age group:
- fall short of meeting the recommended daily serves of all five food groups (based on average intake), and a large proportion do not meet the recommended serves of vegetables and dairy products and alternatives
- get 7.7 per cent of their energy from added sugars and 12 per cent from saturated and trans fats (with the latter exceeding the 10 per cent recommended limit)
- have an intake of sodium well above the level of adequate intake.
For Australians aged 71 and over (anyone in residential aged care was excluded from the survey), only about one in five do the recommended amount of physical activity, with the level being similar for men (25 per cent) and women (20 per cent).
About seven in 10 are overweight or obese, with more men in this category (76 per cent) than women (67 per cent).
Overall, adults aged 71 and over:
- fall short of meeting the recommended daily serves for four of the five food groups (based on average intake), excluding grain foods for women, and almost everyone does not meet the recommended serves of dairy products and alternatives
- get 8.2 per cent of their energy from added sugars and 12 per cent from saturated and trans fats
- have an intake of sodium well above the recommended level
- have inadequate calcium intakes (nine in 10 men and women) .
Are you aware of physical exercise recommendations? Do you fall in the overweight category? Are you careful about what you eat?
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