A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 1 in 10 of the world’s people was classified as obese. Even more sobering was that 30 per cent, or about 1 in every 3 people, was believed to be overweight or obese. It seems that while we’re becoming more and more aware of the global obesity epidemic, it continues to grow and affect the health of billions.
But research is also helping to shine a light on the tools we can use to combat this epidemic and they’re changes we’re all capable of making. Another study published recently, this one in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, followed the lives of people with type 2 diabetes on either a conventional or a vegetarian diet for 6 months. Both diets were designed to be equally kilojoule restrictive to promote weight loss, but at the end of the study those in the vegetarian group had lost significantly more weight and a greater percentage of fat. A larger number of participants also had what was defined as high compliance to the vegetarian diet than the conventional diet, suggesting the dietary change is a simple one to make and maintain.
So could the solution to the world’s obesity problem be as simple as eating more plants?
There are many different factors that impact our health and have led to the global health issues we see today. Health is usually not gained by changing one thing – it comes from a lot of small but significant changes made consistently over time. And research keeps telling us that one of the simplest and most powerful changes we can make is to start adopting a plant-based diet.
To get started on making your diet more plant based today, check out Sanitarium’s great range of plant-based recipes
Top tips to support a health diet and maintain a healthy weight
This doesn’t have to mean going to the gym - just building more activity into daily life:
- Walk to the shops instead of driving
- Stand up at your desk when taking phone calls to reduce sitting
- Park at the far end of the carpark for a longer walk to the shops
It all adds up. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity or 10,000 steps a day.
Sleep on it
Research shows that those who sleep too little or sleep too much tend to have higher body mass indexes.
The sweet spot when it comes to maintaining a lower BMI seems to be between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep a night. It’s also worth noting that the negative effect is much more pronounced for those who chronically undersleep than those who oversleep, so it’s especially important to prioritise getting at least 7 hours rest a night.
First published in The Record