Encouraging people to live healthier and happier lives by improving the physical environments in which they live will continue to be a key priority for the NSW Government, NSW Minister for Healthy Lifestyles, Kevin Humphries, said.
Mr Humphries today outlined the Government’s commitment to support active living and healthier lifestyles at a forum hosted by the Premier’s Council for Active Living (PCAL) that discussed how the built environment and active transport can create opportunities for increasing physical activity and access to healthier food and beverages.
“Currently just over half the NSW population meets the recommended level of at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. That so many people are not meeting this benchmark is of serious concern and we must continue to address it,” Mr Humphries said.
“Since the announcement of Olympian Geoff Huegill last year as the new Chair of the Premier’s Council for Active Living (PCAL), both PCAL and the NSW Government have made important progress towards improving healthy eating environments, incorporating active living into community projects and promoting awareness of the benefits of healthy eating and active living.
“However, there is considerable opportunity for all of us to be more active, more often, and the NSW Government will continue to work with PCAL to focus on issues such as promoting walking as a form of physical activity and active transport, and promoting active and safe communities.”
PCAL Chair, Geoff Huegill, said the group plays a very important role building and strengthening both physical and social environments to support people in achieving a healthy weight.
“At a time when more than 50 per cent of adults in NSW are classified as overweight or obese, looking at how we can use the environments in which we live to make people happy and healthier will be a vital tool in our bid to drive down these rates,” Mr Huegill said.
Today’s forum, Integrating health, active transport and land use planning – opportunities, challenges and next steps, featured Dr Karen Lee, Adjunct Professor at the Schools of Public Health at the University of Alberta and Toronto and head of the Built Environment and Healthy Housing Program at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
“Dr Lee is internationally regarded for her work in ensuring health and wellbeing is front and centre in the community planning process. Her address today reflected PCAL’s goals of increasing physical activity by improving health outcomes across a number of portfolios,” Mr Humphries said.
“This is one area PCAL specialises in and I have no doubt Dr Lee’s address will assist PCAL in its push to integrate physical activity into our daily routines.”