Tom Hogg explains how our health is in our own hands

Tom Hogg explains how our health is in our own hands

We have had some great talks at our get-togethers, but Tom Hogg’s contribution was right up there in terms of practical health advice.

Tom detailed that he was diagnosed with diabetes in 1998. He was overweight and had to learn to manage his condition. He said that he “pivoted” to the medical world, eventually becoming chair of Diabetes Victoria and a board member of Eastern Health.

Tom’s main message was that it was possible for people to improve their medical outcomes by focusing on their eating, drinking and physical activity habits. 

Tom provided statistics that for over 65s, 29 per cent have a chronic medical condition, a further 23 per cent have two such conditions, and a further 28 per cent have three chronic medical conditions.

The term “chronic disease” is one that covers a wide range of ongoing conditions that must be managed, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The treatment of chronic diseases costs $38 billion annually, accounting for 36 per cent of the national health budget. 

Tom referenced the evolutionary biologist Dr Daniel E. Lieberman from Harvard who points out that we have evolved over the eons as hunter/gatherers, and that the Western lifestyle was incompatible with that evolution in terms of health outcomes for us.

We are built to walk a lot, and our food intake often is in excess of our daily energy needs. Tom showed that even 100 calories per day in excess of our energy requirements would bring about an annual weight gain of 3.3kg. 

So, modifying our food and drink consumption to have a diet that is suited to our daily energy needs is an important factor in better health. Exercise that keeps us moving where possible and helps our bone density and sense of balance is also important, particularly as falls becoming more of a risk as we get older. 

Tom strongly recommended involvement in the various movement classes of the Neighbour Network as a great means of assisting in this. He referenced the significant improvement that he had recently achieved in exercises for maintaining balance.

New ideas are sought from the community as we seek to provide additional meaningful, fun, and engaging activities for all age groups. Your ideas and involvement will help strengthen our community and enhance the health and wellbeing of your neighbours. •

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