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Help of hand for Rockingham people to be healthier

Dietitian Claire Ward hopes to help people understand what it means to be a healthy weight at upcoming information sessions. Elisia Seeber

In a diet fad and exercise regime- cluttered world, leading a healthy lifestyle can often send you spinning in circles.

To help Rockingham residents put healthy living into perspective, the City of Rockingham has teamed up with three industry professionals as part of Dietitians Association of Australia Healthy Weight Week this month, from February 16 to 22.

Residents are invited to three free information sessions - Fad Free Healthy Living, Living Well for Older Adults, and Fuelling Healthy Kids - with guest speakers, dietitian Claire Ward, counsellor Ellen Carey and exercise physiologist Clinton Joynes.

The lesson "don't judge a book by its cover" is just as relevant when it comes to knowing a person's health, according to Ms Ward, who hopes to help people understand what it means to be a "healthy weight" at the talks.

"Many people define healthy weight by Body Mass Index, but we know that a BMI is actually a poor indicator of health - it is, at best, a population tool," she said.

"We live in a very weight-focused society and assumptions are made about someone's health based on their shape and size, but the only way you can really assess if someone's healthy is by looking at their behaviours.

"Do they eat plenty of fruit and veggies? Do they exercise?

"I've had people come to me that have a healthy weight as defined by BMI, but they don't have a nourishing diet - they're not physically active, they don't get much sleep and they're stressed - so even though they are at a healthy weight, I certainly wouldn't say they're healthy.

"Healthy weight isn't just about BMI, it isn't just about being skinny, it is about stability, and it's about healthy behaviours and your mental health too."

Ms Ward said residents would have a chance to learn about the many diet fads and supplements going around - paleo, raw, vegan, Isagenix, Herbalife - how much food children need to fuel them throughout the day, and important health tips for the elderly.

"If you want the answers and you want to know how to be healthy in the long-term, come and hear what we have to say about a sustainable lifestyle approach," she said.

For those wanting to start making changes now, Ms Ward recommended starting by taking a look at the Australian dietary guidelines - published by the National Health and Medical Research Council - and finding something physically active to do which is enjoyable.

To register for the sessions, contact 9528 0333.

  • Information sessions *

  • Fad-Free Healthy Living *

  • Date *Tuesday, February 17

  • Time *7pm-8.30pm

  • Location *Gary Holland Community Centre - Kent Street, Rockingham

Learn about adopting a balanced approach to feeling physically and mentally healthy.

·Physical activity.

·Non-fad-diet nutrition and body acceptance.

·Panel discussion with the presenters.

  • Living Well For Older Adults *

  • Date * Wednesday, February 18

  • Time * 9am-11am

  • Location * Gary Holland Community Centre - Kent Street, Rockingham

A session for seniors about how to live a healthy and active lifestyle.

·Physical activity and nutrition concepts, such as reading food labels,

understanding serve sizes and tips for being active every day.

  • Fuelling Healthy Kids *

  • Date * Saturday, February 21

  • Time * 9.30am-11am

  • Location * Rockingham Arts Centre, Kent Street, Rockingham

For parents and children about healthy eating to promote healthy growth.

·Focusing on helping children and their parents understand what foods they need more or less of.

·How to make simple healthy changes.

·Fun, hands-on activities for children.

Hear from counsellor Ellen Carey in next week's edition.