Fresh approach to having a healthy diet

Health: Todd Straw, Marc Mason and Cancer Council WA Wheatbelt regional education officer Melissa Pickering. Photo: Supplied.

Health: Todd Straw, Marc Mason and Cancer Council WA Wheatbelt regional education officer Melissa Pickering. Photo: Supplied.

The Cancer Council WA is spreading the healthy eating message to all members of the local community with clients at the Fresh Start Programme in Northam recently participated in an education session.

Focusing on increasing daily vegetable intake and decreasing intake of empty kilojoules, which are often consumed in sugary drinks, the biggest contributor of sugar to the Australian diet, was the hot topic.

Cancer Council WA regional education Officer Melissa Pickering said it was important for everyone to be mindful of their sugar intake.

"Australians consume approximately 1.43 billion litres of sugary drinks each year," she said.

"Many people don't realise the impact of sugary drinks on weight gain.

"For example, one 600mL bottle of regular soft drink contains 16 teaspoons of sugar.

"It's also easy to forget that drinks add towards your daily kilojoule intake.

"You can easily drink a lot of kilojoules without knowing it."

Northam Recovery Centre general manager David Gunter said the sessions would help the men when they graduate the program and return to their families.

"Drug and alcohol abuse often has a detrimental effect on the individual's physical and mental health," he said.

"We often have clients who come to us with diseases, often as a result of drug abuse and poor living, including heart disease and diabetes, which require a specific diet.

"Working alongside the Cancer Council with the Live Lighter program has given our residents some quality education on healthy eating and food preparation that is transferable when they return back to independent living or to their families."

Mr Gunter said as part of residents' individual treatment plans, Fresh Start worked closely with the Wheatbelt Health Network GPs and allied health team including dietitians.

Ms Pickering said only half of people know about the link between being above a healthy weight and cancer.