Halfway to Better Health

It’s been four weeks of austerity.

No, I am not referring to Greek finances but my own personal health regime: four weeks of no alcohol, no soft drink, little processed food and no added sugar. With my limited culinary skills the consumption highlight of my day is a fix of natural yoghurt, a stick of celery and a bottle of sparkling water!

This self-imposed denial is part of the Eight Week Challenge being run nationally by my boot camp exercise group. It’s designed to inspire everyday people and encourage positive changes that they can make to their health and wellbeing in a relatively brief amount of time. The ultimate goal is to establish new, healthier habits that can be applied beyond the challenge itself.

It takes discipline and commitment but it is hard to argue with the results.

Although we are warned off the scales I was not able to resist weighing in at the halfway mark of the program. Already I am at a weight I haven’t seen since the early ‘90s.

Controlled consumption has been coupled with the thrice-weekly boot camp exercise sessions and a daily recovery walk to ease any aches and pains. The net result has been that I feel healthier, fitter and more alert than I have in many years.

In an environment where nanny state health advocates continue to demand more government regulation in an attempt to protect consumers from their own personal choices, the notion that we can all take control of our own wellbeing is a refreshing one.

The fact that hundreds of people across Australia can demonstrate a quantifiable benefit from a simple program of enjoyable discipline over only eight weeks suggests our government’s nanny state approach to health policy is wrong.

Calls for government to limit consumption of certain types of food or beverages, suggesting junk food taxes and plain packaging for sugary treats or putting kilojoule counters on fast food menus are a poor substitute for actually getting people to take action. Yet they satisfy the requirement that governments are seen to be doing something about the spiralling obesity and health crisis confronting the nation.

Surely there must be a better way to get people to make a change to a healthier lifestyle than what governments are currently doing?

Of course there is and commercial groups like Original Bootcamp are achieving more in terms of practical outcomes than the tens of millions of taxpayer dollars spent for governments to look like they are interested.

That’s not to say that some government initiatives aren’t worthwhile but too many aren’t.

If results are what governments are looking for, then they should take note of what actually works and get on board. Work with doctors and health funds to refer patients to private operators, not government departments. Pay for results rather than simply the administration of a service. Encourage incentives from private insurers to facilitate change amongst their members. I could go on but I am sure you get the point.

An increasing amount of our national taxes are being spent on treating the problems associated with obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Many of these problems are preventable and yet they are on the increase among the populace.

That alone indicates that the existing approach isn’t working. There isn’t a magic wand that can wave this growing epidemic away and no amount of warnings will ever replace action.

Accordingly, it’s time for a new approach to how we encourage better health outcomes for our fellow citizens. We could do a lot worse than look at what has worked and continues to work outside of the unaccountable world of government bureaucracy and their immeasurable outcomes.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Confidential Daily.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.