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Report energises physical activity push

The Heart Foundation has urged Australians to move more and sit less, following the release of its new report highlighting the importance of physical activity as a factor in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease.

Former chair of the Heart Foundation Physical Activity Advisory Committee and co-director of the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University, professor Jo Salmon, said technological and transport advances were resulting in unprecedented levels of sedentary behaviour.

“In Australia, the likelihood of being highly active decreases as adults get older, while sedentary behaviour levels increase with age from 18 years,” Salmon said.

In the report, Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Disease, Salmon stated that physical activity levels are influenced by a range of socioeconomic and cultural factors.

The research revealed that 46 per cent of Australian adults living in major cities are likely to meet physical activity recommendations. That outstrips their counterparts in regional and remote areas (about 38 per cent of inner regional adults, about 39 per cent of outer regional adults and just under a third of remote adults).

As household income or education levels went up, so did the percentage of people meeting physical activity recommendations. Heart Foundation chief medical adviser professor Garry Jennings said physical inactivity contributed to an estimated 14,000 deaths annually and added it was surprising that successive Australian governments had not adopted preventative measures promoting active lives.

“To help guide the way, the Heart Foundation released the Blueprint for an Active Australia, which was a comprehensive compendium of 13 action areas that will boost our low rates of physical activity,” Jennings said. “We also convened a national physical activity consensus forum at Parliament House last year to highlight the key elements that should underpin a national action plan.

He urged all governments to play their part in getting the nation to move more and sit less.

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