WA mining town tackles health problems
As country towns across Australia grapple with obesity, remote mining communities are finding they’re also battling the bulge.
GP Sue Evans says after a 12-hour shift in the dust and heat, miners are turning to TV dinners and beer.
She says obesity and related health issues are a real concern in places like Pannawonica, a small mining town in Western Australia’s remote Pilbara.
"Well over half of all the men I see are overweight and many of them have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of over 30, almost half of the women I see would also have the same issues."
"I think people forget just how significant regular consumption of alcohol is in making a person obese," she says.
Dr Evans is concerned workers in the town consider five beers a day as normal ‘light drinking’.
She says limited access to fresh fruit and vegetables is also contributing to the problem.
Dr Evans believes it is important to raise awareness of the health issues surrounding obesity.
But efforts are underway to tackle the problem. Dr Evans says a company-subsidised gym is helping, along with initiatives like walking groups for new mums.