Make Healthy Normal campaign visits Emerton to put health back on the agenda

Emerton mum Renee Solway admits that since the birth of her children, looking after her own health has dropped down the list of priorities.

“I used to do a lot of sports and eat healthy,” she said. “But when I had kids I chose to put most of my time into them.

“I’ve become a bit preoccupied and I’m more worried about their wellbeing than my own.”

Ms Solway’s tale is a familiar one for many western Sydney residents.

That’s why Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) is putting health back on the agenda.

On Wednesday, the Make Healthy Normal campaign set up camp outside The Shed at Emerton.

It’s goal was to offer advice on creating more healthy habits – no matter how small they might be.

“There’s so many other priorities for people that health often gets pushed aside,” WSLHD health education officer Louise McKeon said.

“It’s great to be able to get people to at least think about health. It might not change behaviour overnight but it’s a starting point.”

In Mount Druitt, smoking rates are double the state average, childhood obesity ranks second in Sydney and the number of people with conditions including heart disease and diabetes are at concerning levels.

The Make Healthy Normal campaign uses outdoor activities and fresh food giveaways to showcase how to make healthy lifestyle choices.

“We are living in an environment where we don’t eat enough fruit and veggies, we have too many sugary drinks and we’re not active enough,” WSLHD centre for population health deputy director Christine Newman said.

“That’s having a massive impact on our health, wellbeing and quality of life.

Ms Newman said even losing a modest two kilograms could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“The small steps can make a big difference,” she said.

“Gradually increasing the number of healthy choices we make each day, such as adding more veggies to our meals, swapping sugary drinks for water and being active every day, can lead to significantly better health.”

Details: www.makehealthynormal.nsw.gov.au or call the free Get Healthy hotline, 1300 806 258.