Heart Health Index: Australians continue to be in denial about meeting heart health guidelines

Overweight and obese Australians have admitted they are too lazy, don't have the time, or are hampered by an existing condition or illness when it comes to making significant changes in their lifestyle to become healthy. This is despite being aware of their personal heart health risks, according to the 2010 Zurich Heart Foundation Heart Health Index, a joint initiative of Zurich Financial Services Australia and the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

Many are in denial. One in eight (13%) overweight Australians believe they are healthy and do not need to change.

Lack of time is the most common barrier to changing behaviour, named by 27% of people, mostly women and people under 40. But there were a range of other reasons given as well.

Eight% admitted to being too lazy or not motivated to make the necessary changes.
One in eleven (9%) reported an existing condition or illness that prevents them from changing their behaviour.
Three% reported the weather as a barrier.
People with children, who were most likely to report lack of time as a barrier, were significantly less likely to adhere to recommended health guidelines. They are less active (61% do not meet recommended activity levels versus 51%), are more likely to smoke (19% versus 13%), and less likely to have their blood pressure (81% versus 91%) or cholesterol (52% versus 75%) checked as frequently as people without children.

Australians self-reported heart health risk behaviour continues to reflect denial about meeting health guidelines. Close to half (46%) of overweight Australians and 13% of obese people thought their health met guidelines. Close to three in four rate their health as either good or very good. Only 4% rated their health as poor. Three-quarters of obese people rated their health as good, very good or excellent.

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