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Eat less - live longer - feel better - save $$$

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Fri, 28th March 2008 EAT LESS - LIVE LONGER - FEEL BETTER - SAVE $$$

Margaret May MP Shadow Minister for Ageing

Federal Member for McPherson Margaret May has encouraged interested organisations and individuals to have a direct input into policymaking.

The House Health Committee is currently conducting an Inquiry into Obesity in Australia and it is an opportunity for people to have their say and offer solutions about a growing problem.

Margaret said: ''Australia has the fifth highest adult obesity rate in the world and obesity is shortening the lives of our children.

''Fat Australian kids are expected to die four years earlier than their thinner counterparts and the number expected to die early at the hands of obesity is so high that they are predicted to drag the average life expectancy of the entire population down by two years.

''Worldwide, an estimated 388 million people will die from chronic disease over the next 10 years.

''Of these 36 million premature deaths could be prevented by an additional 2% fall in chronic disease by addressing three major risk factors - tobacco use, poor diet and lack of physical activity.

''Australia's health care system is currently unable to cope with demand and this demand is only going to blow out with our ageing population.

''Inactivity is not only a factor in obesity, it increases chronic disease, heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, arthritis and depression.

''In a nutshell, a vast number of Australians are compromising the quality of their lives by being inactive and over-eating.

''But they're also compromising the lives of Australians as a whole who have to bear the brunt of their not so clever lifestyle choices.

''A large percentage of our taxes are wasted going into a health system burdened by treating preventable diseases and taken away from priority areas in the health system.

''Advanced research methods are throwing light on the link between body and mind health at the deepest levels as exercise causes biological changes in the body and acts as an antidote to stress and ageing.

''A healthy lifestyle, which keeps the body and mind active is vital and diet is a major factor.

''Research is repeatedly showing that eating less is probably the only thing that can have a significant effect on individuals living longer.

''Therefore nutritious food, whilst keeping an eye on calorie intake, slows the ageing process.

''Stopping eating when you are 80 per cent full is the tradition of the people of the Japanese islands of Okinawa, who are renowned for living long and healthy lives.

''This goes against the trend of many western countries who eat until they are full.

''We have more information than ever about the effects of healthy living but health statistics demonstrate that the message isn't cutting through.

''I encourage organisations and individuals to make a submission to the Inquiry by 16 May 2008.

The Terms of Reference are: The Committee will inquire into and report on the increasing prevalence of obesity in the Australian population, focusing on future implications for Australia's health system.

The Committee will recommend what governments, industry, individuals and the broader community can do to prevent and manage the obesity epidemic in children, youth and adults. ''For further information, please call the Committee Secretariat on 02 6277 4145'', Margaret said.