According to a recent survey from Bayer, almost one in five Aussie women admit they are trying to be healthy to look good and 66% turn to social media and internet to find information on how to be healthy. But do Australian women actually know much about nutrition? Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they do – 83% of Australian women can’t recognise the healthiest cooking oil and almost one in two don’t realise that low fat labelled foods have actually a highest level of sugar than full fat versions.
Lucinda Hancock, CEO, Nutrition Australia said: “Less than 5% of Australians eat enough fruit or vegetables and over a third of our daily kilojoule intake comes from junk foods, soft drink and alcohol. With 60% of Australians having low levels of health literacy, it is often the case that people do not know the best decisions to ensure healthy nutrition.”
It is not just knowledge that is stopping Australians from caring for their health. When exploring the drivers for why Australians want to stay healthy, the research shows that people prioritise the here and now. People want to stay healthy to feel good mentally (57%) and physically (62%) but preventing illness is seen as a much lower priority, with only 39% wanting to achieve this as a result of being healthy.
The research further reveals that Australians rely heavily on healthcare professionals for advice and treatment to stay healthy, with over half listing their GP as their first port of call for information.
General practitioner, Dr Ginni Mansberg, said: “As doctors, it is fantastic to see that so many Australians are engaging seriously with their health. However, with one in two Australians living with chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, doctors need to be doing more than simply detecting diseases. We also need to be proactive in preventing them altogether. Of course GPs play an important role in prevention but we can’t do it alone. I’d love to see every Australian commit to taking more steps to look after themselves. Small steps can make an enormous difference and every little bit counts.”
The Health Yourself campaign, led by Bayer, is aiming to actively support the health and wellbeing of all Australians by supporting the public to make positive health decisions.
Mark Sargent, General Manager ANZ Consumer Health, Bayer Australia and New Zealand, said: “The Health Yourself campaign aims to address the challenge of low health literacy and barriers to self-care. We hope to do so by raising awareness of the importance of self-care, encouraging the public to take action in looking after their own health, and offering suggestions on how they can be supported in this process.”
How can Aussie women make sure they are following the right health advice? How can they differentiate diet and wellbeing facts from fads?
Two words: health literacy. Knowledge is power – this is especially true when it comes to your health. Knowledge is crucial in minimising health risks and driving better health outcomes. If we don’t make the effort to learn and understand basic health information, we are unable to ask the right questions or understand the implications of our own and others’ decisions on our health, and take action.