A Young and Free Nation or Sedentary and Fat?
New statistics on our levels of obesity and physical activity released for Heart Week by the National Heart Foundation paint a picture of the typical Australian, and it isn't pretty.
Queensland (Qld), South Australia (SA), Victoria (Vic) and New South Wales (NSW) all feature towns that make up the top 10 – or the places with the highest number of people who are both obese and inactive, Half of the top 10 places are located in Qld, SA and Vic have two each and one is in NSW.
Heart Foundation National CEO, Mary Barry, said the statistics were both alarming and sobering.
'Far from being the fit and active, outdoors type often portrayed this data shows us that nearly one third of Australians are obese and more than half are living sedentary lifestyles with little or no physical activity in their day.
'The truth is as a nation our waist lines are increasing while our physical activity time is decreasing.
'We are creating bodies that are breeding grounds for heart disease," said Ms Barry.
Heart disease remains the single biggest killer of Australians claiming 55,000 lives a year or a death every 12 minutes.
Being obese and inactive are two major lifestyle factors that increase your risk of developing heart disease.
'The decision to drop the excess weight and be active for at least 30 minutes a day is enough to reduce your heart disease risk. One great way to fit in regular activity is joining a Heart Foundation Walking group in your local area," said Ms Barry.
The Heart Foundation is also calling on the Federal Government to implement a national Physical Activity Action Plan.
'Physical inactivity is a leading contributor to the burden of chronic disease in Australia, with an estimated total cost to the health budget of $1.5 billion.
'We believe having a nationally supported and funded plan will help communities and government to create environments that encourage regular activity.
'In the end if people make the simple decision to move more and sit less they will not only feel better but they will also add years onto their life," said Ms Barry.
Heart Week is happening 3-9 May 2015. Heart Week is a nationwide event that aims to shine a spotlight on the issues contributing to heart disease. This year the week will support the Heart Foundation's campaign to increase physical activity rates and the call for all Australian's to 'Move More, Sit Less'.
For heart health information visit heartfoundation.org.au or phone 1300 36 27 87.