Health of the nation – Manny Noakes

We explore the health of the nation from six leaders from six health organisations.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is Australia’s national science agency and since its founding in 1926, has contributed a raft of developments and solutions to challenges facing Australia and humanity. With over 50 sites throughout Australia and overseas, CSIRO is a diverse network focused on sustainable scientific innovation relevant to industry and community.

Describe your role?

I am a research scientist in human nutrition at CSIRO

What do you believe are the biggest health challenges in Australia?

The escalating cost of good healthcare and an ageing population means that our healthcare system will be unable to afford to treat people without increasing costs. The taxpayer may have to pay more for healthcare and the government may have to consider how to contain these costs perhaps by reducing public funding in some areas.

What do you believe are the biggest health opportunities in Australia?

Preventing illness and disease through better diet and lifestyle could reduce health costs. Incorporating diet and lifestyle advice and support in routine medical care could help to delay hospitalisation. Increasing health maintenance services in the private and public sector is both a potential for increasing jobs as well as wellbeing. There are many opportunities that are now missed to remind people about the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Screening programs for breast cancer and colon cancer that currently exist could very simply be used to do this at a time where people may be more receptive.

What is the CSIRO doing to improve the health of Australia?

We have a strong commitment through the Preventative Health Flagship and other initiatives. We undertake research on the best approaches to diet and exercise to achieve weight and fat loss and how we can best communicate these approaches to change behaviours. Our research on high protein diets has spawned several very successful books for the public that have sold over one million copies. We have developed a new diagnostic blood test for colorectal cancer, which we hope can pick up the disease very early so that it can be treated. We have bred improved cereal grains such as ‘barley max,’ which contains a type of dietary fibre that may help to maintain bowel health. This grain is available commercially.

Based on your role, knowledge and experience what advice do you have for Australians to improve their health?

Keeping regular track of one’s weight is important as kilos can pile on without realising it. Eat a healthy diet by keeping to regular meals and limit snacks. Eat a lot of vegetables. Exercise each day. Eating less overall, not wasting food but eating good quality food that tastes good and is good for the waist as well as the environment. Having a copy of the CSIRO’s ‘A Total Wellbeing Diet’ in your household can provide some ideas for healthy and delicious recipes.

If you were Prime Minister for a day what would be the top three things you would do to improve the health of Australia?

These are my personal views.

I would restructure health and medical research so that it was mission-directed and better targeted to prevention strategies.

I would legislate that all schools both primary and secondary include mandatory education on nutrition and healthy lifestyle.

I would introduce a hefty tax on non-nutritious foods and subsidise healthy foods for those on low incomes.

What was the most recent global conference/industry event you attended and strongest message you took away?

The last international meeting I attended was in Nairobi to review progress of some of our AusAID funded work on food and nutrition security in Sub-Saharan Africa. What I took away from it was how critical it is not just to have enough food but to have food that provides the many micronutrients that are need for physical and intellectual development. The emergence of a junk food culture in developing countries is a real concern as under nutrition makes way for over nutrition and brings in all the same health issues that we have without adequate resources for treatment or prevention.

For more information visit csiro.au

Recommended reading - Bike benefits

Travel

The best bike-friendly cities

Discover the most bike-friendly cities of the world.

Read more
Community

Expert advice to help you swim, bike, run

Danielle Stefano from the Victorian Institute of Sport shares some advice for your first triathlon.

Read more
Community

Bike safety gadgets

Keep safe with these clever products designed to give you the best experience on the road.

Read more
Advice

HIIT bike workout

A short, speedy workout designed for fast fitness results.

Read more
Experts

The Cadel Evans GymBetter Bike Training Guide

A workout plan to get you riding harder, faster, better.

Read more
Lifestyle

How to train for a bike race

Nutrition and training advice from a former Australian Road Cycling Champion.

Read more
Lifestyle

6 reasons why every kid should learn to ride a bike

Get Cadel Evans' insight on why every kid should learn to ride a bike.

Read more
Community

Swim, bike, run this summer

From Caloundra to Latrobe, discover the events that can help you get ready for triathlon season.

Read more
Lifestyle

3 tips to improve your cycling

Love to ride? Take your cycling to the next level with the Magellan Cyclo GPS.

Read more
In Brief

Kids who bike or walk to school

Boost children's concentration by encouraging cycling or walking to school.

Read more
Travel

Travels on two wheels

Swap the gym for the open road and make your next holiday a cycling adventure.

Read more
Travel

Thereabouts

Two brothers on why they took up the challenge to cycle 2,500km from Port Macquarie to Uluru.

Read more
Travel

Australia’s best places for a family bike ride

Get on your bike and enjoy the sunlight in this list of recreational areas Australia.

Read more
Lifestyle

How bike riding boosts kids’ health

Discover why bike riding is good for children and the different ways it helps them to develop.

Read more
Lifestyle

Winter bike riding tips

Tour De France winner Cadel Evans tells you how to keep bike riding through the winter months.

Read more
Guides

C is for cycling

Cycling is a great way to experience the fresh air, wildlife, food and landscapes of New Zealand.

Read more
Experts

What Cadel Evans can teach us about riding better

Cadel Evans offers biking wisdom and the best spots to hop on two wheels around Australia.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.