Active living is a high priority in the new Victorian public health and wellbeing plan 2019–2023.
It is one of four focus area to be highlighted over the next four years. The others being: tackling climate change and its impact on health, increasing healthy eating, and reducing tobacco-related harm.
The plan says that by moving more and sitting less we reduce the risk of ill health and all-cause mortality.
"Regular physical activity can help to prevent (and treat) many non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, musculoskeletal conditions and depression,” the plan says.
“Moreover, being physically active in combination with a healthy diet helps to reduce other risk factors for disease such as high blood pressure and obesity.
"Incorporating physical activity, preferably any type that you enjoy, into every day is associated with improved mental health, ageing well and increased levels of happiness.
“It is never too late to start leading an active life, with the health and wellbeing benefits realised well into older age.”
The plan lists three strategic actions to increase active living:
- Increase the proportion of transport trips that use active modes of travel.
- Increase easy access to parks, open spaces and public spaces with opportunities for physical activity where appropriate.
- Integrate healthy lifestyle counselling and referrals within routine health care services.
The plan says that active communities contribute many co-benefits to our society.
"For example, higher levels of physical activity support improved academic performance throughout early childhood and school and increased workplace productivity.
"Encouraging this activity to occur in natural environments (including parks) can increase people’s connection with nature and catalyse actions to conserve and protect our natural environments.
"Neighbourhoods designed to support walking, cycling and public transport use foster positive social connections, promote feelings of safety and belonging, stimulate local business activity and can reduce the environmental impacts associated with car emissions and traffic congestion.
"Car emissions contribute to climate change and, coupled with increased traffic congestion due to Victoria’s strong population growth, increasing the share of trips made using sustainable transport modes (such as walking and cycling) is imperative."
The plan says that nearly a third of Victorian adults are obese, 31.5 per cent or 1.5 million; two-thirds of the adult population are overweight or obese, around 3.3 million Victorians, and; a quarter of children are overweight or obese.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said: “This is our roadmap for fitter, healthier Victorians, no matter their age, background or where they live.”
“For the first time, we’re taking a close look at the dangers of climate change to our health – and how we can protect Victorians.”
“This plan is about government and the community working together to help Victorians be fit, active and healthy.”See the plan