Australia is currently encountering population health concerns in the form of increasing prevalence of chronic disease and escalating obesity rates that will in turn significantly increase the national health spend. As a consequence, the Australian Government is now focusing on the potential for our health services sector to engage in preventative health measures.
The capacity for regular exercise and improved fitness to help prevent disease is universally acknowledged. The prevalence and severity of chronic health conditions, be it cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, metabolic or mental health have been found to diminish or be offset through regular exercise. The importance and role of fitness as a preventative health measure is clear, however the challenge of raising community wide adherence to physical activity remains a difficult one.
From mid 2010, the national government will unveil a range of initiatives aimed at enhancing exercise adherence, healthy eating and weight management.
National Preventative Health Agenda
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has formed a National Partnership Agreement on Preventative Health to address the rising prevalence of lifestyle related chronic disease. The medium to long term performance outcomes related to activity and weight are:
To increase the proportion of children and adults at healthy body weight by 3 percentage points within ten years: and
To increase the proportion of children and adults meeting national guidelines for healthy eating and physical activity by 15 percent within six years.
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