New research from the Heart Foundation has revealed alarming statistics about exercise and heart health in the New England Region.
Director of Active Living at the Heart Foundation, Professor Trevor Shilton, wants people to understand the facts and not be complacent about physical activity and heart health.
“The heart foundation has surveyed around 7000 Australians and found that two in three people know that exercise can lower the risk of heart disease. 44 per cent said their doctors had asked them to do more exercise. So, it is surprising that around six in ten Australians are not active enough” said Professor Shilton.
According to the Heart Foundation’s Australian Heart Maps data, the New England and North West region has the state’s highest rate of death from coronary heart disease. The death rate in this region is 85.8 out of every 100,000 people, which equates to roughly 33% above the state average.
The region ranks 9th out of 28 NSW regions for heart-attack hospitalisations, with admissions at 17.2 out of every 10,000 people. This is around 19% above the NSW state average.
Risk factors that contribute to heart disease include obesity, smoking and high blood pressure. The region has shown conclusive evidence of ongoing struggles with each of those factors. The New England and North West has the state’s second highest rate of obesity, with West Tamworth being the most obese town in NSW. 61.2% of its residents are considered obese.
In a bid to combat these issues and motivate people to take up regular walking and/or physical activity, the Heart Foundation has launched its Personal Walking Plans program.
“Our personal walking plans are a fun initiative that you can engage with, people give us some personal data through the program and in return we give them a personalised offering along with motivational messaging, videos and encouragement to keep the walking up” said Professor Shilton.
In this free, six-week program, participants will receive a walking plan tailored to their current activity levels. Weekly emails and texts will alert the walker of their plan, which will support and motivate as well as educate participants about the many benefits of walking beyond health and fitness.
“We think an important element missing is that nudge needed to keep people active”.
To get started with a free Heart Foundation Personal Walking Plan, visit Walking.org.au.