We’ve been talking walking this Autumn as the Heart Foundation works to get more Australians active more often, through walking.
In March, the Queensland Government held its first Walking Summit with visiting international consultant Dr Rodney Tolley among the expert presenters. Heart Foundation staff were part of the discussion working with community stakeholders to shape the future of walking in Queensland.
The message was loud and clear that the future of walking must be connected, safe, easy, and inclusive. The next steps in the journey towards Australia’s First State Walking Strategy are to consolidate actions from the summit into key themes in order to engage further with local governments. This work will be critical to finalise the 10-year strategy, 2-year action plan, and Walking in Queensland Report as the ultimate toolkit for walking.
Dr Tolley then presented for the Heart Foundation in Adelaide at a partnership event with Walking SA and SA Health. The event ‘Let’s Make Walking Great Again!’ launched their call for a state-wide Walking Strategy and Action Plan and looked at the benefits across health, transport, road safety and tourism. Both Walking SA and SA Health signed the International Charter for Walking.
In Western Australia, the Healthy Active by Design team supported the City of Cockburn and the WA Department of Transport to consider Walkability in a New Urban Centre. Dr Paula Hooper from the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC) linked evidence from the RESIDE project to identify elements of a walkable neighbourhood. This research informed the design features that are integral to the Healthy Active by Design program to promote a healthy built environment that supports walking www.healthyactivebydesign.com.au
Getting Australians moving more often is critical, with the latest National Health Survey showing two thirds (67%) of Australian adults are overweight or obese, with only 44% getting the physical activity they require for good health. This presents great potential to create impact through walking, as the most popular activity for Australians over 15 years.