Healthier approach needed

Some of the latest statistics on alcohol abuse and other health issues certainly make for salient reading.

If you’re in the beautiful region around Bright and Mount Beauty, problem drinking is an issue.

Data from the Australian Health Policy Collaboration shows up to 28 per cent indulge in a way that can be only described as heavy drinking.

The rates are lower at Benalla and Wodonga, but even those centres’ respective figures of 17 and 16 per cent are still a worry.

It equates, after all, to almost one in every five people. Another major concern highlighted by the data is the number of people who are overweight.

For Wodonga, it’s a significant figure of 68 per cent. And we all know that obesity is the driver of so many of our deadly, modern ailments, especially heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

So it would appear that despite living in a region that affords us so many opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle – from our city parks to the great outdoors, plus access to locally grown fresh, healthy food – we’re not so healthy at all.

We just cannot kick our addiction to processed foods, to the reservoirs of salt and sugar that are causing so much damage and that threaten to do likewise to our children and grandchildren if we don’t break the cycle.

On that front the health concerns raised by these latest statistics are not the sole preserve of the Border region.

It is something that is happening right across Australia and is a measure of many affluent societies, though often those battling to make ends meet end up the most badly affected by poor health choices.

That is simply because they don’t have the access to the information they need to be able to change life for the better.

To be able to better plan for the city’s direction on healthy lifestyles, Wodonga Council has launched a health and well-being plan.

Over the next four years, the council will investigate ways to help the community get a much better understanding of healthy eating and of the benefits of keeping active.

And in a sensible step, it wants the community to provide feedback on how it believes this can be achieved.

It is a wise strategy by the council and one that certainly should be followed by other councils in the Border region.

We will all feel better for such a move.