Media releases

December 17, 2015

Resolution for 2016: Stop the Restrictive Dieting

Over 11 million Australians are now overweight by an average of 16 kilograms each, according to new Roy Morgan Research data released by Medibank today[i].

The data, collected in the 12 months to June this year, shows that 26.2 per cent of Australians were obese based on their Body Mass Index, while 35.1 per cent were overweight.[ii]

Aussies from Western Australia and Victoria were the healthiest in the country, with more than three quarters below the national obesity line. Meanwhile, the obesity ratio per capita was worse in South Australia and Tasmania, with around three out of ten people classified as obese.[iii]

With 2016 almost upon us, most Australians are planning their New Year’s resolutions and the vast majority will be focused on better health. 

Dr. Kevin Cheng, Medibank’s Medical Director, is encouraging Aussies to forget fad dieting in 2016, and instead focus on making little changes for a healthier lifestyle. 

“A diet that’s too restrictive is usually one that’s destined to fail, whereas a balanced diet can be enjoyable and you don’t have to give up all of those foods you love,” Dr Cheng said.

Medibank is the nation’s leading private health insurer, dedicated to looking after the health and wellbeing of Australians.

“We want to help Australians truly embark on a healthier lifestyle, and that means long-term change, not short-term extreme diets,” said Dr Cheng.

“For those looking to a health-inspired New Year’s resolution, the ideal premise is not to feel as if they’re ‘dieting’, but instead rely on a moderation mindset.”

Dr Cheng’s top tips to make 2016 a destination for moderation:

  1. Avoid distracted eating: Paying more attention to what you’re actually eating, as opposed to how much, could help keep you from overeating. Multitasking—such as eating while watching TV or eating while working—and rushed eating can cause you to eat more. Slowing down and savouring your food can help you control your intake
  2. Try one new fruit or veggie a month: Have some fun with your recipes and see what works for you. Variety is important to keep healthy eating interesting and make sure you have a well-rounded nutrient intake. For recipe ideas, visit
  3. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day: There’s a reason you’ve been told this for as long as you can remember. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism after your overnight fast. A healthy breakfast will replenish your energy levels and stop blood-sugar fluctuations, leaving you less likely to go for that mid-morning snack
  4. Allow yourself some indulgence: It’s easier to stick to a healthy eating plan if you allow yourself a little flexibility. Even the best-designed diets needs a little wiggle room and a small amount of indulgence. That’s not to say a greasy burger and big bowl of chips should be a regular occurrence, but there’s nothing wrong with a square of chocolate or a glass of wine over dinner every now and again
  5. Rethink your drink: Drink water whenever possible. Drinks like soft drinks, milky coffee and alcohol are loaded with sugar and are empty calories. Dehydration can mimic the feeling of hunger and is a major cause of fatigue. Swap the sugary drinks for water, up your intake and you’ll notice the difference almost immediately
  6. Ease yourself back into it: Gradually easing yourself back into exercise after an indulgent festive season is the best way to ensure you don’t push your body too hard too soon and lose motivation to keep going. Try walking for 20-30 minutes a day and taking advantage of pay-as-you-go gym passes through apps like GymBetter, which provide access to more than 500 gyms and their group classes across Australia with no lock-in contracts
  7. Think long term: It’s not just about eating well and exercising regularly but insuring your health for the long term. With private health insurance, you not only have peace of mind that you will be covered for the unexpected but you can also utilise extras such as physio, chiro and dental, depending on your cover, while gaining exclusive access to 24/7 health advice and support with Medibank.

“The key is realising that it’s not about having every single meal meet strict guidelines, but rather a well-rounded approach to balanced eating,” Dr Cheng said.

“One meal or one type of food isn’t going to make or break a healthy diet. What is important is making overall long-lasting healthy choices that fit in with your lifestyle.”



[i] Roy Morgan Single Source, 12 months to June 2015, Australians aged 18+

[ii]  Roy Morgan Single Source, 12 months to June 2015, sample n=51,371 Australians aged 14+

[iii] WA 75.9%, VIC 75.4% below obesity line; SA 30.9%, TAS 28.7%, who are obese. Roy Morgan Single Source, 12 months to June 2015, sample n=51,371 Australians aged 14+ 


About Medibank:

Medibank is Australia’s leading private health insurer, providing private health insurance to approximately 3.9 million people through its Medibank and ahm brands. Customers can access Medibank’s products and services through more than 80 retail stores, as well as digital and telephone platforms. Medibank also provides a range of complementary healthcare services including healthcare management services for government and corporate clients, online and telephone-based health services and the distribution of travel, life and pet insurance.



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