Leaders and influencers are shaping up to reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes rates across Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday by pledging to inspire their tribes to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Today, more than 50 joined to launch a major community-wide initiative encouraging other influencers to lead the way and fight this emerging health crisis.
The Mackay Institute of Research and Innovation (MIRI), a newly established partnership collective and a Mackay HHS initiative, will sponsor and drive the Let’s Shape Up project.
Executive Director Research and Innovation Dr David Farlow said obesity and type 2 diabetes are significant health issues.
“The ‘Health of Queenslanders 2016 Report showed Mackay HHS’s obesity rate is 16% higher than the state average with 28% of the population recorded as obese,” he said.
“Data also shows us that up to 5% of our community are currently living with type 2 diabetes. “If ignored, both of these diseases can lead to long-term health issues putting pressure on the individual, their family, workplaces, the community as well as the health industry.”
The project aims to reduce the progression of type 2 diabetes and obesity by fostering behaviour change through a ‘tribal’ approach.
“Everyone knows obesity causes many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes. Why do humans know this causes harm, yet generally ignore it? The “Holy Grail” is – how to change human behaviour,” he said.
“The innovation behind the project is that we will target families and community leadership to play their part in implementing behavioural change.
“The tribal approach recognises that leaders in families, workplace and community have the power to influence those around them. As leaders it is our responsibility to inspire our tribes to make bite sized changes towards leading healthier lifestyles.”
The first step in the initiative is to encourage other leaders to join a network named the HealthFull Alliance by making their own pledge on how they can influence those around them.
“From today leaders need to shape up and inspire their tribes by making their own pledge on how they can help drive behaviour change,” he said.
“Once they’ve pledged we’ll connect them to resources and activities to help plan how they can make a real difference within their tribe.
“Pledges can be made online from today by visiting miri.health.qld.gov.au/inspireyourtribe.”
Mackay HHS is leading the way in the fight against obesity and type 2 diabetes recently introducing free staff health checks that allow all employees to understand their risk to developing type 2 diabetes. A range of activities have also been introduced to support staff in managing this risk.
The Let’s Shape Up project is one of only 22 projects across the state that received funding from the Integrated Care Innovation Fund through Queensland Health’s Clinical Excellence Division.