KYABRAM resident Michael Northcott has embarked on a journey to improve his health and be there for his children for many years to come.
When Mr Northcott reached his heaviest weight of 210kg earlier this year, a lightbulb flickered in his mind.
His doctor had told him he needed to lose weight, as his blood pressure rose, along with his risk of heart disease.
‘‘I lost my dad to a heart attack when he was 41, and I didn’t want my kids to have to go through that. I knew I had to do something,’’ Mr Northcott said.
‘‘It took me a few years to take on board the seriousness of it.’’
Mr Northcott is currently on the waitlist for the bariatric surgery at The Alfred, as part of the health service’s new campaign Right Word. Right Time, which aims to combat chronic disease.
The diseases are responsible for 90 per cent of deaths in Australia, with many of these largely preventable with a lifestyle change.
As part of the conditions, Mr Northcott has had to change what he eats (learnt through the assistance of a food diary) and has started to walk more.
When Mr Northcott’s weight was the wrong side of 200kg he was consuming a staggering 21,000 kilojoules every day — by comparison an average male should consume about 8700 kilojoules.
Since he started the program in April, he says he has lost 22kg, and is on his way to lose more.
Chronic diseases include cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes, with the four common risk factors including smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition and harmful use of alcohol.
Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah, a GP at Alfred Health, said health professionals were the most credible voices for preventive health but the conversations did not occur often enough.
‘‘Chronic disease places a huge burden on individuals, families and our health care system and without intervention that burden is only going to get worse,’’ Dr Ananda-Rajah said.
‘‘Sometimes all it takes is an open conversation to encourage patients to make some important changes whether it’s quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol, changing their diet or exercising more. Those conversations can be tricky, but they need to happen more often. The right word at the right time can be transformative.’’
For more information about the campaign, visit www.rightwordrighttime.org.au