Calorie Neutral Challenge

Australia has a major obesity problem – the 2007-08 National Health Survey showed that 61.4% of the Australian population are either overweight or obese. As one of the trifecta of ‘lifestyle diseases’ including tobacco and alcohol related disease, it is a major contributing factor to ill-health in the country. Problem…

In March and April 2012 I’ll be travelling to the United States to research Medical-Legal Partnerships. So what’s the problem? In 2007, the World Health Organization ranked Australia 21st in the world in terms of the percent of overweight population, and third out of the major countries in the Anglosphere, behind the United States (ranked 9th) and New Zealand (ranked 17th). So, for a fella who loves food, travelling to somewhere fatter than Australia could be tricky – the burritos in San Antonio are meant to be freakin awesome. Answer? The Calorie Neutral Challenge.

So, the Calorie Neutral Challenge is:

  1. Burn off as many calories as I eat by doing a bit of exercise while I’m on the road.
  2. Blog about a few awesome eats and runs in the States.
  3. Reflect on how we can use the law to tackle the obesity epidemic.

So is the threat real? Damn right it is.

A few years ago I remember seeing a television commercial produced for the Measure-Up campaign. The campaign was part of the Australian Better Health Initiative (from 2006-2010), which aimed to reduce the risk factors for chronic disease such as some cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. At the time my kids were still infants – and I was more sedentary than I had been in my entire life. It might be corny but I could actually relate to the this guy in the ad who, walking towards you as the years pass, becomes fatter and less fit. The ad man had earned his commission. Then a couple of years later I saw the same guy in an old magazine in my doctor’s surgery – Time to take some health measures. Same guilty and self-conscious feeling. It wasn’t until a mate finally said let’s do Run for the Kids (a fun run in Melbourne to raise money for the Royal Children’s Hospital) that I thought it really was time – and did something. I realised that if I wanted to climb mountains with my three boys when they were teenagers I’d have to change something fast.

Exercise and eating well are an effort, but it’s worth it. Hope you enjoy staying Calorie Neutral with me.


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