People take out private health insurance for many reasons – to give them peace of mind that they will be privately covered for in-patient hospital expenses, receive tax benefits, avoid long waiting lists for surgery, have their choice of doctor and hospital, and to take advantage of extra benefits that Medicare doesn’t cover, like dental and optical.
According to research, the secret to staying healthy for longer may come down to what we already know: eating well and exercising regularly.
The recently released revised Australian Dietary Guidelines highlight the importance of following a healthy diet.
Published by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) on February 18, 2013, the revised guidelines are based on systematic literature reviews of approximately 55,000 pieces of scientific research.
The guidelines are available for download on www.eatforhealth.gov.au and provide people with an excellent source of reputable information about diet and general wellbeing.
NHMRC Chief Executive Professor Warwick Anderson said that more and more studies are associating a healthy diet with a minimised risk of chronic disease.
“The evidence that links a healthy diet and reducing the risk of chronic health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers is stronger,” Professor Anderson explained.
“There is also stronger evidence about the kind of foods that can increase the risk of weight gain and health problems.”
It is hoped that the publication of the revised guidelines will provide Australians with some clear information about healthy eating, and dispel any fad diet myths that may be circulating.
Professor Anderson believes that eating well is as simple as eating nutrient-dense foods and minimising the intake of foods high in sugar and saturated fats.
“To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, Australians need to balance physical activity with amounts of nutritious foods and drinks that meet energy needs,” Professor Anderson said.
“We all need to limit energy rich nutrient poor ‘junk foods’ that are high in saturated fat, added salt or sugar.”
Many health organisations have welcomed the revised guidelines, including the National Heart Foundation and the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).
DAA chief executive Claire Hewat said: “The guidelines drive home how crucial nutrition is to the health and wellbeing of Australians – and especially children – as the right start with healthy eating can help set them up for life.”
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