Research undertaken by the healthy lifestyle program My health for life indicates many Queenslanders over 40 have the mistaken belief they are in excellent health.
Program director Lyn Hamill said more than 600 Queenslanders, 45 and older, were asked to rate their health as part of on-going research into health behaviours. A high percentage rated themselves as having good or excellent health despite having factors that put them at high risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes or stroke.
“The findings tell us middle-aged and older Queenslanders are not seeing the warning signs and lack self-health awareness or think they are bullet proof,’’ Ms Hamill said.
““The problem is most people believe they are doing enough to stay healthy or know what a healthy lifestyle looks like, but statistics tell a different story.
“For example, we identified 400 people who had a real risk of developing serious conditions – but 62 per cent still believe they have a healthy diet, despite 70 per cent being overweight or obese.
“Almost half were not exercising enough, while 35 per cent had high blood pressure and high cholesterol and 35 per cent were not eating enough vegetables – yet they still think they are doing okay, and it is misguided.’’
She urged Queenslanders to get better informed about their health and know their risk of developing serious disease, so they can act before it is too late.
“If there is one New Year resolution to keep this year it is to be better informed. A lot of conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes can be prevented so why not act now.’’
She said a starting point was doing the free online health check at myhealthforlife.com.au to see how their health is tracking then discuss the results with their GP. Importantly, the online check also tells them whether they are eligible for the free Queensland Government-funded My health for life program.
The six-month program is available across the State, delivered in small group sessions by qualified health professionals in their local area or privately over the phone. The program provides eligible Queenslanders a free health coach to help them turn their health around.
About 120,000 Queenslanders have taken part in the health checks since the $27 million program launched in 2017. More than 8000 Queenslanders have since enrolled in the program while another 5000 are expected to take part this year.
“The health check takes all of five minutes,’’ Ms Hamill said.
“It could be the best decision you make all year and, if you do the program, we will help you set some health goals and then support you to action them to get your health back on track.’’
While everyone’s health goal is different, about 50 per cent of program participants have used My health for life to help them lose weight while others have focussed on moving more, eating better and stress reduction.