CSIRO Total Wellbeing Dietitian Pennie McCoy said there is not one particular reason why obesity levels in south-West Sydney are higher than the NSW average.
"But we know there are a couple of factors that affect obesity rates," said Ms McCoy, who is the head of health coaching for Digital Wellness, the leading digital health platform that powers the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.
"Access to equitable food system for one, it's having a supportive environment, it's education levels and it's also related to having supports around them to improve their health.
"We want to get into the community and encourage changes; whether that is community gardens, walking groups or healthy school canteens to set up the supports for healthy behaviours."
Ms McCoy said for people looking to change their diet and lifestyle, it's important to take "small steps".
"It's about finding a program that is going to help give you education, guidelines and supports," she said.
"At Digital Wellness we work with CSIRO to really encourage people to understand what's in the foods they are eating. So it might be taking a quiz to understand what your diet is looking like now.
"We have a healthy diet score; it gives people a snapshot of where they may need to make improvements.
"In terms of making those improvements, it's about taking small steps. It's getting the junk food out of the cupboards so it it out of sight and out of mind and replacing it with good quality, fresh vegetables and fruits, plant-based foods and good quality proteins."
Ms McCoy said people can find their healthy diet score a "little bit confronting". The average score is 60 out of 100.
"The average Australian has 5.1 indulgences (junk food) every day. We are trying to get that level down to 1-2 serves max each day," she said.
"Boost the vegies intake is my No.1 piece of advice. It's about giving people the education and tools to empower them to make changes.
"It's not necessarily about what you're doing wrong, but more so where you can make improvements and make better choices."
And as for tips for parents for packing school lunches?
Ms McCoy said to ensure a serving of fruit (orange, mandarin, pear, apple), dairy (cheese/crackers, yogurt) and a sandwich.
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