Nearly 40 per cent of Central Queenslanders are obese.
Nearly 40 per cent of Central Queenslanders are obese.

New program launched as CQ records high obesity, inactivity

The Heart Foundation this week launched a program to motivate more people to take up regular walking, as new research reveals Australians’ alarmingly high complacency about physical activity and heart health.

In a Heart Foundation survey of more than 7,000 Australian adults, two in three said they know that exercise can lower their risk of heart disease, the nation’s single leading cause of death.

But two-thirds of those people also said that they did not meet Australian physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more days a week.

In the Central Queensland region, which comprises Gladstone, Rockhampton, Livingstone, Central Highlands, Banana, and Woorabinda, the heart disease death rate is 76.8 per 100,000 people, which is 7 per cent above the state average.

Central Queenslanders are hospitalised for coronary heart disease at a rate of 58.9 out of every 10,000 people, or 10 per cent above the state average, and nearly one in four adults has high blood pressure.

A total of 36.9 per cent of people in the region are obese and 19.3 per cent smoke.

Heart Foundation Group CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly said almost 8 million people in Australia were too inactive.

“This is extremely concerning given physical inactivity is a key risk factor for heart disease, which takes 50 Australian lives each day, or one every 29 minutes.”

The Heart Foundation’s Personal Walking Plans are free, six-week programs in which participants receive a walking plan tailored to their current activity levels.

Plans are delivered by weekly emails and texts that include information about the benefits of fitness.

“This is a vital component of the Personal Walking Plans, because as our survey shows, simply understanding that physical activity is good for the heart does not equate to getting off the couch,” Professor Kelly said.

“Over this six-week journey with us, participants will learn about some of the lesser-known benefits of regular walking, like unwinding at the end of a stressful day, exploring their neighbourhood, becoming stronger and more flexible, and improving their mood.

“That’s why we often call walking a ‘wonder drug’. If it were a medicine, we would all be taking it daily for longer, healthier, happier lives.”

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