CQ among top least active regions in the country
Central Queensland is the state’s fifth least active region and the nation’s seventh.
According to the Heart Foundation, Queensland has seven of the country’s 10 least physically active regions, and of the Queensland rankings, CQ follows Logan-Beaudesert, Ipswich, Darling Downs-Maranoa, and Wide Bay.
The Central Queensland region takes in Gladstone, Rockhampton, Livingstone, Central Highlands, Banana, and Woorabinda local government areas.
The data has prompted the foundation to call for the coming state budget to include an additional $40 million to make the state more walking friendly with wider footpaths, more shade, safe pedestrian crossings, and more.
It is also calling for ongoing funding of walking advocacy group Queensland Walks and programs such as Heart Foundation Walking, which has 320 walking groups across the state.
Heart Foundation Active Living Manager Sheree Hughes said that investing in walking would save lives and cut healthcare costs.
“Walking is a wonder drug,” she said.
“It is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions, plus it is suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
“Queenslanders can reduce their risk of heart disease by up to 35 per cent and improve their mental wellbeing simply by walking briskly for at least 30 minutes a day.”
She said that almost 68 per cent of Queensland adults were not active enough, making the state the second most sedentary in the nation, after South Australia.
The Heart Foundation’s latest What Australia Wants survey indicated seven in 10 Queenslanders felt it was important that they could be active in their local area.
“COVID-19 has shown us people want to get out and about walking in their neighbourhoods, and highlighted the need for safe, walking-friendly environments,” Ms Hughes said.
“We need to support them with programs, policies and infrastructure that will pave the way for more Queenslanders to be active, more often.”
The Queensland Government announced its walking strategy in August 2019, and funding for the first plan is due to end in June.
“Queensland showed real leadership as the first state to have a dedicated walking strategy,” Ms Hughes said.
“Now is the time to step up funding to ensure it is executed successfully.