WAIST WHITTLER: Paul Bell smashed his CQ Health Challenge, losing 18kg in 16 weeks.
WAIST WHITTLER: Paul Bell smashed his CQ Health Challenge, losing 18kg in 16 weeks. Contributed

Smashing health goals

THE winner of the Mackay versus Central Queensland health challenge has been officially declared as Mackay, however, in the battle to lose weight and boost health, two teams of champions have emerged.

The 16-week contest motivated 401 people from Mackay and 354 CQ entrants to shed excess kilograms, reduce their waist girth

and increase activity

levels in a bid to address chronic illness caused by obesity and poor lifestyle choices.

Final statistics for both regions showed Mackay lost a total of 205.2kg, made a 180.9cm waist girth loss, and took 152,627,430 steps.

CQ lost a total of 182.4kg, made a 166.8cm waist girth loss, and took 86,436,592 steps.

Chairman of the Central Queensland Hospital Board Paul Bell, who surpassed his own personal weight-loss goals, said obesity and weight were areas that both Mackay and CQ were "really challenged with”.

"The intent was to do some prioritisation about healthy lifestyles because Mackay and CQ are not staying within a state or national averages,” he said.

"We have to reduce our waistlines in CQ. The health challenge was really our first mark in the sand that as a community we've got to realise we're out of step with Queensland in a big way, and we need to eat healthy food and exercise more.”

Paul Bell smashed his CQ Health Challenge.
Paul Bell smashed his CQ Health Challenge. Contributed

Mr Bell said that as part of an inspired proactive health approach in the region, the 10,000 Lives program to reduce smoking had also begun.

"If we can reduce smoking rates to the state average, which is about 10 per cent of the population - we're about 17 per cent - we'll save 10,000 lives.

"The facts are that the life expectancy rate of a Central Queenslander is two years less than somebody living in a city or metropolitan area, and if you're indigenous it's 12 years less.

"If we keep doing what we're doing, we're going to be losing friends, family

and loved ones at a greater rate.”

Mr Bell said the contest had been "pretty close in the end”, however, the aim now was to review the results and take up or continue the challenge to live longer and adopt healthy lifestyles.

"I took on a challenge of losing 18kg and I did it in 16 weeks, so I went from 108kg to 90kg, and I'm now sitting at about 88kg,” he said.

"I just feel brilliant - not only do you have more energy and you're able to bounce around the place, but you also feel good about yourself.”

Mr Bell, who also joined Emerald ParkRun, said the key to his success had been food.

He said he reduced his plate size and cut out fast, fatty food. He also joined

the 10,000 steps program

and at the end of 16 weeks had completed 1,000,100 steps.

"Now if I have a pork chop or steak I cut off all the fat. Just in the past few months it's changed my attitude towards staying healthy and if I can continue those habits I'll be able to maintain what I've done.”

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