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‘The Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’ provides advice and behaviours that adults can do on a daily basis to achieve optimum health and wellbeing. The Australian Bureau of Statistics: National Health Survey 2014 – 2015 (2015) data showed that 63.4 per cent of Australian adults were either overweight or obese, and that 44.5 per cent didn’t exercise enough. The National Health Survey (2015) also reported that 17.4 per cent of Australian adults exceeded the National Health and Medical Research Council guideline by drinking more than two standard alcoholic drinks a day.
‘The Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’ promotes good nutrition, physical activity and psychological wellbeing in combination to reduce stress and the risk of chronic illness. They contain nine guidelines that encourage behaviours to achieve balance and live a longer, happier life.
Nutritional Aspects
Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease and is an increasing health burden in Australia. Maintaining a healthy weight through good nutrition is one way to reduce the risk and live a happy life. The World Health Organization (2018) defines nutrition as “an adequate, well balanced diet combined with regular physical activity – is a cornerstone of good health”.
Guideline 1 – Eating a balanced diet
A balanced diet is achieved from eating a variety of healthy foods in moderation. The Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) recommend eating mainly whole foods from each of the five food groups and drinking plenty of water.
The 60:30:10 diet (Week 3, Slide 18) suggests that 60 per cent of a person’s daily food intake should be from carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and grains), 30 per cent from fats (milk, cheese, and yoghurt) and 10 per cent from proteins (lean meat, fish, chicken, and eggs). These macronutrient ratios provide a balanced diet by portioning carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Eating a balanced diet is an important nutritional aspect that should in the ‘Top 9 Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’. The ratios specified maximise energy levels and cardiovascular health.
Guideline 2 – Minimise processed and high sugar foods
Highly processed and high sugar foods such as breakfast cereals, pies, cakes and take away meals is a major factor for rising obesity levels in Australia. Processed foods are high in chemical additives such as preservatives and artificial flavours that have little nutritional value.
Sugar can have a harmful effect on metabolism, leading to insulin resistance and high cholesterol. Stanhope, Schwarz and Havel (2013) researched the effects of sugar and reported that sugar consumption was associated with an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Minimising processed and high sugar foods is an important nutritional aspect that should in the ‘Top 9 Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’. This nutritional aspect is one of the best ways to prevent weight gain and early death.
Guideline 3 – Limit saturated fat, salt and alcohol
The Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) emphasise that a lot of Australia’s health problems originate from unhealthy food choices such as saturated fat. They advise replacing saturated fats with mono and polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 fats, omega-6 fats, olive and canola oil, as well nuts including almonds.
Limiting excessive salt can reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. This can be achieved by cutting back on foods such as bacon and potato chips. Limiting alcohol is an effective way of reducing ’empty’ calories and reducing the risk of cancer and liver damage.
Limiting saturated fat, salt and alcohol is an important nutritional aspect that should in the ‘Top 9 Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’. This nutritional aspect helps to maintain a normal body weight resulting in an improved quality of life.
Physical Activity Aspects
Inactivity ranks second behind smoking as a risk factor for heart attack in Australia. Physical activity helps maintain a healthy body weight, and research has shown it stalls aging, reduces the risk of dementia and improves sleep. (Sharp 2014, pp.43-55).
Guideline 4 – Exercise most, preferably every day
Physical activity such as swimming, walking, dancing and cycling preferably every day is recommended. Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults (2017), advocates “150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination” each week. Moderate activity increases breathing and heart rate, while vigorous activity leaves you “huffing and puffing” (Kidd & Rowe, 2011). The type of activity is not important, just that it’s enjoyable.
Exercising most, preferably all days each week is an important physical activity aspect that that should in the ‘Top 9 Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’. Increasing the level of participation in physical activity from 55.5 per cent in Australia is one of the keys to reducing Australia’s health costs and living a healthier life.
Guideline 5 – Muscle strengthening twice a week
Muscle strengthening builds muscle size and increases metabolism. Muscle strengthening exercise includes using dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls and weight machines. Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults (2017) recommends muscle strengthening activities twice a week to achieve maximum benefit.
There are many benefits of muscle strengthening activities which is why it is an important physical activity aspect that should in the ‘Top 9 Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’. Benefits include; joint protection and improved mobility which is important as we age. Other benefits include better posture, increased stamina and increased bone density reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Guideline 6 – Minimise sedentary behaviour
The World Health Organization (2018) estimates that 1 in 4 adults are putting themselves at risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression and premature death. Tremblay et al. (2017) defines sedentary behaviour as activities with a very low energy expenditure such as sitting, sleeping and watching TV.
Caba (2016) reported that a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of heart disease more than smoking and obesity in women over 30. For this reason, minimising sedentary behaviour is an important physical activity aspect that should in the ‘Top 9 Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’.
Psychological Aspects
Psychological healthily people are happy, healthy and manage the pressures and worries of life. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011), determined that mental illness was ranked three, as the biggest source of health burden in Australia.
Guideline 7 – Social Support
Talking to someone such as parents, a friend, doctor or psychologist can help relieve stress and prevent a crisis. Staying connected and talking to someone that is trusted, caring and supportive can relieve the psychological and physiological effects of stress and improve confidence and wellbeing (Beyond Blue, 2018).
Being alone can isolate someone suffering anxiety and depression, making it harder to recover. Social Support is an important psychological aspect that should in the ‘Top 9 Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’. This psychological aspect can provide protection from the effects of stress by helping people stay connected with those who love them.
Guideline 8 – Goal Setting
The Black Dog Institute (2018) promotes the SMART, or specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound approach for formulating psychological wellness goals. Setting realistic, achievable and measurable goals aids in long term change for anyone aspiring to improve their health and wellness.
Goal setting promotes a focus on the future. The SMART approach motivates and inspires by setting realistic targets and breaking down problems into small achievable goals. Goal setting is an important psychological aspect that should in the ‘Top 9 Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’, enabling people to create the changes they desire.
Guideline 9 – Good Quality Sleep
Good quality sleep, or the amount of deep sleep a person gets and a regular sleep pattern are important aspects of health and wellbeing. Hamilton et al. (2007) reported that optimal sleepers, those sleeping between 6 and 8.5 hours a night exhibited fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety and displayed higher levels self-acceptance and positive relations.
Good quality sleep is an important psychological aspect that should in the ‘Top 9 Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’. A regular routine and switching off electronic appliances can reduce the symptoms of psychological illnesses such as depression and anxiety and improve wellness.
In conclusion, wellness is multidimensional and crucial to living a quality life. To quote Voltaire, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well”. Professors Kidd ; Rowe (2011) state that by improving diet and increasing exercise a person could add over five years to their life and prevent illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. ‘The Australian Wellness Guidelines for Adults’ are intended to prevent chronic disease and improve the wellbeing of all Australians. They provide a proactive and preventative approach through nutrition, physical activity and psychological behaviours to achieve optimum health and emotional happiness.

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