PRIME MINISTER URGES AUSTRALIANS TO
MAKE TIME TO WALK EVERY DAY
As physical inactivity and obesity levels reach an alarming all-time high, a national media campaign featuring the Prime Minister John Howard is encouraging the nation to get its health back on track by participating in Walk to Work Day on Friday, 3 October, 2003.
The Chairman of the PCA Mr Harold Scruby said: “This is a wonderful campaign because it features one of the busiest people in Australian who genuinely MAKES TIME to WALK EVERY DAY.
“One of the most frequently used excuses by people who are not participating in regular physical activity is that they do not have time. Yet our Prime Minister has set the example and proven that nearly everyone can make time to walk for at least 30 minutes a day.”
The Prime Minster states in the Walk to Work Day national TV and radio advertisements: “Every day, wherever I am, I find time for a walk. 30 minutes a day walking makes a big difference to your health. Why not try it?”
Supporting the campaign, Professor Adrian Bauman*, Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of NSW stated: “Recent research shows that across Australia, 1,400 deaths from heart disease and diabetes could be prevented and a total or $76 million in measurable health care costs could be saved each year if just 10% of Australian adults walked more regularly. These dramatic figures could be achieved simply by increasing walking to five days per week, for 30 minutes a day.
“Each of us is experiencing an increase in work commitments and a reduction in perceived leisure time; therefore, the excuse for having ‘no time’ is often heard. Being moderately active needs to become part of everyday life, if we are to reverse these worrying trends,” Professor Bauman said.
“This is the new concept of ‘active living’, these 30 minutes of activity need not be continuous. Benefits can be achieved through one, or a combination of activities throughout the day. For example, a walk to the bus stop in the morning for 10 minutes, followed by a 10 minute walk around the block at lunchtime and then another 10 minute walk in the afternoon, easily makes up the 30 minutes without disrupting regular daily activities.”
According to the Department of Health and Ageing there has been a significant increase in overweight people in the last twenty years. Today 65% of men, 45% of women and 20 – 25% of children are considered overweight or obese (overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater, obesity is classified as a BMI of 30 or greater).
An initiative of the PCA, Walk to Work Day is in its sixth year. The PCA is urging every Australian to become a Walking Class Hero and include a walk in their daily routine so they can achieve better health, cleaner air, less traffic and improved transport.
For further information visit the Walk to Work Day web-site at www.walk.com.au
Media Enquiries: Phoebe Russell / Angela Purnell
MacSween Communications 02 9327 4333
25 September, 2003
*Professor Bauman declared these figures in a letter to the PCA supporting Walk to Work Day. Professor Bauman is Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at the University of NSW.