30 December 2019
NSW Health is encouraging people to set realistic New Year’s resolutions and start 2020 with small, healthy lifestyle changes that are more likely to last.

Dr Chris Rissel, NSW Office of Preventive Health Director said small steps are the key to making big lifestyle changes that are more sustainable.

“Breaking old habits can be hard. People can have great intentions and then break their New Year’s resolutions within just a few weeks because they have unrealistic expectations about how quickly they can make significant changes,” Dr Rissel said.

“A healthy life is more like a long walk than a short sprint. The NSW Get Healthy website and free telephone coaching service is a great place to start if you want to improve your health. It provides people with a personal health coach for  six months to guide them to achieve their health goals.

Figures show more than 55 per cent of people over 16 living in NSW are overweight or obese because of overeating and underexercising.

Dr Rissel said exercise doesn’t need to be intense to be good for you and activities like walking to the shops or bus/train stop, gardening or even housework can improve fitness.

“Walking is a simple way to get active and reduce your risk of chronic disease. Moving your body in any way is better than doing nothing, even chores like mopping the floor or mowing the lawn all help to burn kilojoules – if temperatures aren’t too high and there’s no smoke haze try to aim for 30 minutes a day on most days of the week,” he said.

With about 60,200 hospitalisations and 6,850 deaths attributed to smoking annually, NSW Health is also encouraging smokers to quit smoking on January 1.

“Within a day of stopping smoking, the carbon monoxide level in a smoker’s blood has decreased dramatically and in the first week their tastebuds come alive and sense of smell improves,” said Dr Rissel.

Smokers looking for support to quit can call the Quitline on 13 78 48 or visit icanquit.com.au.

In 2019-20 the NSW Government is investing over $36 million towards reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity, and $17 million on tobacco control including education campaigns, smoking cessation support, enforcement of smoke-free laws and targeted programs for vulnerable groups.