Young Australians getting fatter and more anxious

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In just three years, the number of Australians aged 18-24 years who were overweight or obese rose by 18 per cent.

Australians are smoking and drinking less than ever before but the country's general health won't improve until people start making the time to improve their diets.

The latest National Health Survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed on Wednesday that the average Australian is overweight or obese and doesn't eat enough vegetables.

"On average, we were doing 42 minutes of exercise every day, which mostly consisted of walking for transport or walking for exercise, however we didn’t participate in sufficient strength and toning activities," ABS director of health statistics Louise Gates said.

"In addition, 44 per cent of us spent most of our work day sitting."

Australian Medical Association NSW president Dr Kean-Seng Lim told SBS News those unhealthy habits can be changed.

"Smoking is a really good example of what we can do about public health."

"The rates of smoking in Australia have declined because of a combination of taxes, education, and changing the culture at workplaces."

"We can do the same thing with food and drink."

The annual health snapshot also showed 47 per cent of Australians live with one or more chronic conditions; up about five per cent in a decade.

Mental or behavioural conditions have also increased by 2.6 percent in four years to 20 per cent.

And 13 per cent of adults report high, or very high levels of psychological distress.

Alcohol consumption is still falling with 16 per cent of over 18s having more than two standard drinks a day down 3 per cent in four years.

"We know that all of the work that's been done in Australia to get people more comfortable talking about mental health has worked, and that people are feeling more able to seek help when they need it," said Associate Professor Dr Samuel Harvey from the Black Dog Institute.

"But still, mental health has more stigma around it than any other condition."

Source SBS News

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