Walk to Work 4.6 million reasons Australians should put their feet first

Walk to Work 4.6 million reasons Australians should put their feet first
By 2025, approximately of 4.6 million Australians are expected to be obese1 - don't be one of them!

All Victorians are urged to get walking on National Walk to Work Day (WTWD) on Friday 3 October.

Dr Peter Brukner, Doctor of the Qantas Socceroos says walking is such a simple activity, yet the majority of Australians don't do it enough and this is one of the key reasons over half of all Australians are currently overweight or obese.

"Forget about the diet shakes, fitness machines and fad diet programs and get walking," Dr Brukner said.

"National Walk to Work Day is the perfect time to stop making excuses, to do something good for yourself and develop a new healthy habit of regular physical activity.

"Walking is an easy, enjoyable, safe and sociable method of exercise and it makes you feel great. Best of all you can do it any time, any where and it's free," he said.

WTWD is held annually to remind all Australians regular walking is a great way to avoid obesity and a range of illnesses including high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis and cancer.

Access Economics estimates productivity losses due to obesity are at $3.6 billion and a further $2 billion in health costs per annum, while the combined financial costs of the obesity related 'big three' is $19.5 billion dollars a year.

Meanwhile, 23.8% of Type 2 diabetes and 21.3% of Cardio Vascular Disease is caused by obesity. Obesity and being overweight are also important causes of cancer, particularly cancers of the colon (11%) breast cancer in post-menopausal women (9%), uterus (39%), kidney (25%), oesophagous (37%) and gall bladder (24%).

Walking along with other therapies can also be used to overcome mild to moderate depression which accounts for three to four days off work per month for each person experiencing depression - the equivalent of more than six million working days per year in Australia2. Undiagnosed depression costs $4.3 billion dollars in lost productivity annually3.

Across Australia public and private organisations of all sizes including are helping to raise awareness and to encourage their staff to get fit and healthy by walking more regularly.

Dr Brukner said that Walk to Work Day was the perfect opportunity to remind people that every step counts.

"You don't have to walk all the way to work, just part of it. If you live some distance away from your work, try taking public transport for some of the way and walk the rest.

"If you have to drive to work, park at least 1 kilometre away and walk the rest. Taking the stairs instead of the lift is another good option," Dr Brukner concluded.

National Walk to Work Day is on Friday 3 October 2008. To register and for turther information please go to www.walk.com.au.

1 Diabetes Australia/Access Economics Report 2008
2 Andrews G, Hall W, Teesson M, and Henderson S. (1999). The Mental Health of Australians.Mental Health Branch, Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.
3 Hilton, M. (2004). Assessing the financial return on investment of good management strategiesand the WORC Project. The University of Queensland.