The results are in and western Sydney’s score is an ‘‘F’’, for fat.
New national health research suggests more than 60 per cent of adults in western Sydney suburbs are overweight or obese.
Walter Kmet, chief executive of western Sydney Medicare local WentWest, said the the findings were nota surprise for medical professionals.
‘‘We have been working closely with local health care professionals, including GPs and the Western Sydney Local Health District to address this issue,” he said.
‘‘Obesity and its related conditions are placing ever-increasing demand on the local health system including the delivery of services in the community.’’
Mr Kmet said people from western Sydney suffered greater rates of weight-related health conditions than people from other areas of NSW.
Those conditions include the preventable type 2 diabetes, which affects more than 7 per cent of the population in western suburbs.
That figure is almost 3 per cent greater than the national average.
Dietician Matt O’Neill said several lifestyle factors caused weight problems.
‘‘There are many factors applying to people’s lifestyles that contribute to weight gain and obesity,’’ he said.
‘‘Fast food is becoming increasingly accessible and cheaper.
‘‘I mean, wo can argue with a $2 cheeseburger when a salad roll costs two or three times as much to buy from a take-away shop?
‘‘There are also lifestyle factors, like less opportunities for exercise and an over reliance on vehicles for travel.’’
Mr O’Neill said turning the problem around needed a concerted effort.
‘‘You won’t find the time for exercise, you’ve got to make it,’’ he said.
Tips from nutritionist Matt O’Neill
■‘‘Get your fast-food fix at home’’;
■Cooking oven-baked pizzas, pies and potato wedges, rather than buy them deep fried;
■Make time to go on family walks, or play in the park;
■Don’t ‘‘crash diet’’. This slows the body’s metabolism and increases weight gain when eating returns to normal;
■Limit ‘‘screen time’’ on computers and TV on weekends.
Diabetes hotspots include:
■Holroyd, 7.6 per cent;
■Blacktown, 7.2 per cent;
■Auburn, 6.7 per cent;
■Parramatta, 6.4 per cent.
Health professionals are so concerned about the rate of diabetes in western Sydney they have established special committee to work on prevention and treatment strategies.
The Western Sydney Diabetes Prevention and Management Steering Committee is responsible for integrating and streamlining diabetes services across the region.
The committee’s strategy includes the ‘‘SHAPE’’ program, which gives high-risk individuals an opportunity to improve their lifestyle with advice from a professional.
WentWest chief Walter Kmet said the program had a holistic approach.
‘‘Programs such as our SHAPE initiative have been designed to educate patients on diet and nutrition, encourage a more active lifestyle and
prevent the rise of chronic disease in the region,’’ he said.
The committee is expected to launch the Western Sydney Diabetes Prevention and Management Plan before the year’s end.