The impact of these findings for Australians and Australian employers is significant, with the research suggesting that if Australians make healthier lifestyle choices by practicing at least average health habits the national depression incidence rate could reduce from six percent to 4.7 percent – resulting in 300,000 fewer depression incidences per year, 4.7 million recovered working days and saving the Australian economy around $3 billion per year.
Essentially, smaller lifestyle changes like getting more sleep and increasing how much exercise you get each week can make a big difference to your risk of depression as well as the overall health of the nation.
Health and performance expert and AIA Vitality ambassador Dr Jaime Lee said her advice to Australians who are looking to take back a sense of control, in what has been an extremely challenging year, is to start by taking a pause and asking themselves what is the one small change they can make to their lifestyle, to improve their mental resilience and wellbeing.
“The biggest finding from the AIA Australia and Quantium research, is that 30 percent of depression risk is influenced by controllable factors – physical exercise, a good night’s sleep, having a well-balanced diet and not smoking – which is really encouraging,” said Dr. Lee.
“With 45 percent of Australian adults experiencing a mental health issue at some point in their lifetime, cultivating mental wellbeing and reducing your risk of depression can start with small lifestyle changes which will have a big impact on your overall wellbeing as a whole,” she added.