Australia, it's time to get off our backsides
AS IF we self-indulgent Aussies didn't have enough to cope with, researchers are telling us that we're too fat and highly susceptible to diabetes.
Lounging around and individually eating enough junk food to nourish an African tribe is putting couch-potatoes at risk of premature disability and death.
While pleasure-seeking Australians celebrate hedonism and embrace consumerism with gusto, easy access to the material joys of life can have serious pitfalls.
You only have to look at some of the richest people in Oz to know that wealth doesn't always lead to good health or sound judgments.
So what's to be done about our gluttony, idleness and over-consumption?
Here I'm exempting those fine specimens of fitness who eat sparsely and exercise enthusiastically, except to offer universal admiration and envy from an adoring public.
The findings of the latest AusDiab study are undeniable, after it kept tabs on 11,000 Australians for 12 years.
A staggering 270 adult Australians were diagnosed with diabetes each day, and people aged 25 to 34 were gaining more weight than other age groups.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has added to all this woe by announcing that we citizens of the Lucky Country each spent a whole month watching television in 2011-12.
On average, we're glued to the TV screen for about four hours a day. Hardly an energetic state of affairs.
Those billions of dollars spent on preventative health campaigns don't appear to be working too well.
We can't escape the conclusion that a sizeable proportion of us need to get off our butts and exercise more if we want to live a longer and healthier life.
There's really no excuse for being a layabout - we live in a country bursting with outdoor activities and opportunities to move the body about.
Challenge is, how do we discover the motivation to take advantage of that?
I agree that eating and watching TV are two of life's supreme pleasures but 30 minutes a day of exercise is enough to keep the pounds off, and surely we can all stretch to that.
The "experts" have come up with some reasonable alternatives to reckless eating, drinking and screen-watching.
Ease into this gradually, because I know it's gonna hurt ...
Walk to the shops instead of taking the car; an extra benefit from this activity will be fuel savings. Use the stairs instead of the lift, or take up active hobbies like sport or gardening.
Get up and walk around rather than sitting for hours at a desk.
All we have to do is make exercise as much fun as tucking into a black forest cake or watching Australia's Got Talent.
We can gloat in the fact that life expectancy in Australia has increased dramatically over the last century and continues to rise.
A boy born in 2008-2010 can expect to live 79.5 years and a girl 84 years.
But honestly, many of us are letting ourselves down with our idle, unhealthy lifestyles.
Now if I could tear myself away from this computer ...
Government is listening for once, so make your voice heard
DID you put in an idea for Queensland's 30-year plan?
If you did, you are among the 33,000 Queenslanders who made submissions.
If you haven't, you have eight days to add your ideas to the mix.
It's refreshing to see the State Government genuinely consulting with its people before making decisions.
These submissions to the Queensland Plan will identify local and state-wide priorities for governments, business and the community.
To make it easy to shape your ideas, there are six questions in the online survey that prompt responses.
They touch on community involvement, teaching skills and values, healthy lifestyles, structuring the economy, achieving sustainable landscapes, and retaining the brightest minds.
Already there are plenty of intelligent suggestions.
Queenslanders want to strengthen community connections, improve our cultural and economic relationships with Asia, and place greater emphasis on the role of agriculture and farming.
Compulsory community service is among the ideas, as is taking a more personalised approach to education.
A summit will be held in Brisbane on October 9 where the results will be outlined. The plan will be released later this year.
If you're a Queenslander, your comments count.