The Heart Foundation is today welcoming the McGowan Government’s commitment to developing a WA Walking Strategy.
Health Minister Roger Cook made the announcement at the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia’s Pre-Election Forum this morning.
Heart Foundation WA CEO Sarah Fordham is elated at the Government’s commitment ahead of the March 13 election.
The Heart Foundation has been calling for a dedicated WA Walking Strategy for some time and is pleased that the Government has committed to developing this.
“The recent lockdown has shown the importance of the walkability and livability of our local neighborhoods and the effect this has on our health and wellbeing.
“Many West Australians have embraced walking in their local areas during the COVID-19 pandemic and we want to keep this momentum going so that we can see more people being active.
“Currently, 65 per cent of West Australians are not meeting Australian guidelines for physical activity. This means it is crucial that we have a dedicated WA Walking Strategy.
“Regular walking is one of the best choices for Australians to reduce their risk of heart disease. Research suggests that walking for an average of 30 minutes a day can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes by around 30-40 per cent,” Ms Fordham said.
In the lead up to the election, the Heart Foundation has not only been calling for a dedicated WA Walking Strategy but has also surveyed MPs and candidates on their views about walkability in their local areas. They have also been invited to attend a walk with their local group.
The Heart Foundation has received support from parliamentarians and candidates from all political persuasions around the benefits of walking and the importance of the walkability of their local areas.
Currently, there are a range of strategies such as WA Public Health Plan, The WA Health Promotion Strategic Framework, Obesity Plan, Sustainable Health Review, WA Cycling Plan, Design WA, METRONET and others. The WA Walking Strategy will aim to complement these strategies.
“Having a WA Walking Strategy will deliver a range of important benefits to the West Australian community. Walking can be a way to exercise for better health, to socialise, to have fun, or to get to work, school, or other destinations, as well as connecting us with others and our community.
“More walkable communities can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enabling short car trips to be replaced with walking. This is good for local economies, main streets and precincts and driving ‘foot-traffic’ to small businesses,” Ms Fordham said.