ESSA continues advocacy for preventative health to be high on government’s agenda

Over six million Australians aged between 18 and 64 are not active enough to gain the range of physical, mental and social health benefits that come with increased physical activity. Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is calling on the Australian Government and stakeholders to work harder on creating change.

"With 50% of Australians having at least 1 of 8 common chronic conditions (cancer, cardiovascular disease, mental health, arthritis, back pain, lung disease, asthma, diabetes), and 23% having at least 2 or more, $467 million is spent on health every day. That’s $19 per person, per day,” says Anita Hobson-Powell, ESSA Chief Executive Officer.

"We are calling on the Australian Government, stakeholders and communities to recognise the benefits of living an active life and accept responsibility for creating a nation that can help people’s efforts to be active.”

Too often those people who are not active (or not active enough) are shamed and labelled as lazy, or they are bombarded with unrealistic messages about being more active that discourage them, rather than motivate. This blame approach means the Australian public is missing out.

"Society has successfully helped many Australians quit smoking by thinking broadly about the problem; they realised telling people to just quit would never work. So, why do we think just telling an individual to exercise more will work?”

Although they range from coronary heart disease, to dementia and Alzheimer’s, and lung cancer and lung disease, most are preventable with exercise assisting in the prevention, management and treatment of all conditions.

Physical activity assists in reducing the burden of disease, mortality and morbidity. It also increases endorphin release, improves mental health and can prevent or reduce the impact of mental health conditions, as well as reducing stress and anxiety. Physical activity also improves social interaction and community networks.

“What is important to recognise though, is that the ability to lead an active life is complex. For example, age, gender, income, education levels or the place people live can influence it. This means that sometimes a person’s ability to be active is compromised by factors outside his or her own control,” adds Anita.

ESSA’s long-term advocacy strategy has targeted government at all levels, as well as industry stakeholders and community groups to collaborate and build an active nation where all Australians are supported to be and stay active.

“We have continued to lobby the government for better support and access to exercise services and programs to facilitate more Australians in getting and staying active. ESSA created the ESSA for an Active Nation campaign to champion this call for action.”

“The main goal of the campaign is to promote Access, Fairness and Quality in the development of health and aged care policies on exercise services provided by accredited exercise physiologists and exercise scientists. For more information, visit”


How else can you get involved?

All Australians of all ages are invited to take part of in the Living Well for Longer survey, which will be used to assist in the development of the National Preventive Health Strategy. This survey is an important opportunity to have your say on the role of exercise in prevention. The survey will close on the 31 January 2020.