New physical activity report highlights need for major Government preventative health strategy

29 Oct 2020

A new report that finds Australians are not spending enough time being physically active highlights the need for action on a national, long-term preventive health strategy, AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid said.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report found that the majority of Australians of all ages are not meeting the minimum levels of physical activity required for health benefits, and are exceeding recommended limits on sedentary behaviour.

Dr Khorshid said the findings were concerning, but not surprising. He highlighted that these findings are likely amplified by the impacts of the 2019-2020 Australian bushfire smoke, combined with the restrictions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. People have been forced to spend more times indoors, community sporting events have been cancelled, gyms closed, and social gatherings limited. The unfortunate outcome of this is reduced physical activity.

“While we want all Australians to remain cautious and continue to act in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines, there are many options for increasing our physical activity. If you are uncertain about what options are safe for you, discuss it with your GP.”

The AMA is working with the Federal Government on its proposed long-term national preventive health strategy, which was first announced in a video message by Health Minister Greg Hunt to the 2019 AMA National Conference almost 18 months ago.

“As a nation, we spend woefully too little on preventive health – only about 2 per cent of the overall health budget,” Dr Khorshid said.

“A properly resourced preventive health strategy, including national public education campaigns on issues such as smoking and obesity, is vital to helping Australians improve their lifestyles and quality of life.”

Read the full media release here.