Importance of physical activity in reducing burden of disease in Australia

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released their latest report, Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015, last week. The report provides estimates of the burden due to 216 diseases and injuries in Australia and the contribution of various modifiable risk factors to this burden.

The overall burden of disease has reduced (11% decrease between 2003-2015), however Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) continues to encourage the implementation and support of preventative health initiatives and physical activity participation.

“Although the report highlights that we are living for longer and staying healthier for longer (almost 90% of years lived are in full health), risk factors such as physical inactivity have not improved over time, indicating the areas of opportunity to improve our health,” said Anita Hobson-Powell, ESSA Chief Executive Officer.

“It is encouraging to see that reductions in risk factors has been responsible for 51% of the health improvement, meaning that preventative health policies and initiatives that encourage active engagement in exercise and physical activity will only continue to be beneficial for the health and well-being of Australians.”

An increase in Australian-wide physical activity will be reliant on engagement in a variety of activities spanning active recreation, sport, structured exercise and incidental activity.

ESSA Accredited Exercise Physiologists and Accredited Exercise Scientists possess the expertise to provide education and advice concerning the uptake of physical activity in these varied modes and settings and can offer this to individuals or at community or population levels.

“ESSA is committed to supporting preventative measures to protect the physical health of all Australians. We welcome the recent announcement by Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt to establish an Australian Preventative Health Strategy,” adds Anita.

“ESSA’s Active Nation campaign, launched in 2018, advocates that physical activity and exercise are higher priorities on the government’s agenda, important facets of an overall preventative health strategy.”

To find out more about the Active Nation campaign, please click here.