A returned majority Liberal Government will commit $400,000 to improve the physical health, mental health, and social connectedness of Tasmanians by expanding the Heart Foundation Walking program.
On average, one person is admitted to hospital every nine minutes with a heart attack. Walking for an average of 30 minutes a day can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes by 30 to 40 per cent.
Heart Foundation Tas CEO Kellie-Ann Jolly said the commitment will help the Heart Foundation improve the lives of more Tasmanians.
“The current rate of heart disease risk factors in the Tasmanian population is among the highest in the country. Tasmania tops the chart in obesity, has the second-highest smoking rate, and ranks third poorest when it comes to physical inactivity,” she said.
“Walking represents the most reliable, affordable, accessible and feasible way to increase physical activity in vulnerable populations. It is free and can be undertaken by people of all ages.”
The Heart Foundation’s recent ‘What Tasmania Wants’ survey shows that 67 per cent of our population are in favour of government directing more of its roads funding into walking and cycling infrastructure.
Economic evidence from 20 different studies found that the cost benefit ratio of walking interventions is 13:1, that is $13 of benefit for every $1 of expenditure. Further, the ‘Good for Business’ report shows significant benefit to local businesses of localised walking and bike riding.
The Heart Foundation Walking program has 1500 walkers participating across 118 walking groups in Tasmania. Over 90 per cent of walkers feel the program is important to their physical, social and mental health.