16 Dec, 2016 Last updated: 19 Dec, 2016

VicHealth has put together some handy tips to help Victorians improve their health and wellbeing in 2017.

Download the media release.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said while people sometimes find it challenging to keep New Year’s resolutions, there are some easier ways to make changes and get healthy for 2017.

“It’s so true that being healthy is easier said than done. People often put a lot of pressure on themselves to stick to New Year’s resolutions which can at times seem overwhelming,” Ms Rechter said.

“Ensuring a safe, happy, and healthy 2017 for you and your loved ones doesn’t have to be a chore. 

“Start by making small changes. Setting modest goals with a view to increasing those goals over time, like eating one extra piece of fruit, or walking an extra block each day, can make major differences to our health and wellbeing in the long term.

“Setting small, realistic goals helps to make them more achievable and less daunting, which means you’re more likely to stick to them.”

Kick off 2017 with these easy tips:

1. Start by taking a healthy selfie 

Victorians can visit VicHealth’s Health Snapshot website (www.healthsnapshot.com.au) to see how their health and wellbeing measures up against the average ratings for the rest of the state and their local community.

The data from the latest VicHealth Indicators Survey, published in November, shines a light on a number of health indicators that can be improved. Victorians can compare their health to the rest of their community and, where possible, make changes to improve their health and wellbeing and prevent chronic disease.
For a copy of the VicHealth Indicators Survey visit https://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/indicators.

2. Get app-happy!

Physical activity apps that reward you for exercising and mindfulness apps that support users struggling with anxiety and depression are among the top rated apps in the latest VicHealth Healthy Living Apps Guide.  For the second year running, VicHealth worked with Deakin University to review more than 300 health and wellbeing smartphone apps and provide star ratings based on user-friendliness and potential for behaviour change.

If you need some extra support, check out VicHealth’s Healthy Living Apps Guide to see the top rated apps. Visit www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/apps for more information.

3. Look out for your neighbours

Make a promise to keep an eye out for your friends, family and neighbours, especially during the festive season which can be an emotional and stressful time for many, and offer support where you can. Research shows Victorians and those living with a disability feel less safe walking alone during the day and after dark, compared with all Victorians. 
Social connection is important for strong mental wellbeing. If you’re feeling a little isolated, why not volunteer to help a charity – you’ll meet new people, and helping someone else can be one of the best ways to help yourself. 

4. Avoid sugar coating the truth…and your cereal

Sugar is hidden in so much of the food and drinks Australians consume every day. Make sure you check the sugar content in processed food like cereals, breads, and pasta sauces, and try swapping sugary drinks for water – that includes fruit juices, flavoured milks, cordials and energy drinks. Sugar sweetened beverages are the largest source of sugars in the Australian diet, and they can lead to weight gain and tooth decay. One 600ml sugary drink can contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar.  

If you need a little inspiration to get you going, try swapping to water for 30 days by signing up to VicHealth’s H30 Challenge at www.h30challenge.com.au. It’s good for your health and your wallet.

5. Show support for gender equality 

Everyone can be part of the solution when it comes to gender equality. The VicHealth Indicators Survey revealed one-third of all Victorians show low support for gender equality in relationships and that 44% of men show low support for gender equality, compared to 27% of women. 

With plenty of women’s sport on offer in 2017, including the Women’s Big Bash League and the inaugural AFL Women’s season, why not head along to a match near you to cheer on our top athletes. It might end up inspiring you to be more active as well!

6. Get dancing in the streets 

Get out into the streets, laneways, and gardens of Melbourne’s CBD when White Night rolls into town in February, and then in March for the inaugural White Night Ballarat. This year’s program features local, national and international artists, with VicHealth presenting a 12-hour dance marathon, Swing City, featuring sounds of big band music from the 30s, 40s and 50s, courtesy of big-band legend John Morrison. 

7. Park and walk

You don’t have to join a gym to get active. Start with something small like getting off the tram or bus a stop early, or park the car a few blocks away from your destination and walk part of the way. Stand up for 10 minutes at a time when you would usually sit for a prolonged period, or take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. 

8. Veg out

Try creating some new and delicious meals to increase your veggie intake! Victorians are only eating 2.2 serves of vegetables in a usual day, less than half of the recommended 5 serves. Try eating five serves of vegetables a day, as recommended in the national guidelines, and see how much better you feel overall. Fresh, frozen or canned – have fun with new varieties or incorporate a simple twist into tried and true family favourites like adding kidney beans to spaghetti Bolognese or toss plenty of colourful veg like capsicum, carrot, broccoli and eggplant into a stir fry. 

VicHealth media contact:

Cimara Doutre, Senior Media Advisor, 03 9667 1319 or 0435 761 732 or email cdoutre@vichealth.vic.gov.au.