NEW Gympie GP Dr Adam Hall has a soft Scottish accent, a passion for his work and a love of exercise.
The 29-year-old met his Gympie-raised wife Trudy (nee Barnes) when the two were working in hospitals in the UK - Trudy is a speech therapist. They relocated to Gympie this year after the arrival of their first child last September.
Dr Hall is based at the Channon St Medical Centre at the IGA building, but manages to fit in a demanding exercise regime around his long hours and new baby.
His passion is endurance sport, and it is something he brings to his work as well, currently studying for his Masters in Sports and Exercise Medicine and coaching other sportsmen and would-be sportsmen in his spare time.
Having trained and competed in endurance sports for the past seven years, Dr Hall recently took out first place for his age group in one of the 10km runs in the Sunshine Coast Run Series, and is in training for the upcoming Noosa triathlon.
His keen interest in the importance of exercise is sharpened by Australia's steadily worsening obesity levels.
"Australia is now consistently in the top five fattest countries in the world," he said this week.
Twenty-five per cent of Aussies are now obese, compared to 27% of New Zealanders and 34% of Americans.
"We are steadily getting fatter. It's frightening to think what's going to happen down the track - the burden on the health system, the cost of Medicare etcetera."
Professor Stephen Blair in his Aerobics Centre of Longitudinal Study identified exercise as the single most important preventative health factor.
Dr Hall said all GPs should be quizzing and encouraging their patients more on their level of exercise.
"When you go to visit your GP do they ask how much exercise you are doing?
"They are very quick to take your blood pressure and ask if you are a smoker and probably give you a hard time if you are, but they are not asking about exercise.
"Exercise is the best thing anyone can do for their health. Regular physical activity is the single most important preventative health factor against all causes of mortality."
The general advice on exercise is, for adults, 30 minutes five times a week and, for children, one hour five times a week.
Gentle exercise such as walking is fine, Dr Hall said.
How exercise is good for you, apart from controlling weight:
- Reduces cardiovascular disease which can cause heart attacks and strokes;
- Reduces dementia, diabetes, anxiety, depression and fatigue;
- Reduces pain of arthritis;
- Reduces the chance of fractures in post-menopausal women;
- Increases quality of life by elevating your mood and boosting your energy.