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  • Writer's picture2022 Global Voices Fellow

Let’s Move Australia – Improving National Physical Activity Rates

By Abigail Joseph, Global Voices National Scholar, WHA, 2020

Abigail Joseph is a Global Voices National Scholar. Her policy paper focuses on Let’s Move Australia – Improving National Physical Activity Rates.

Executive Summary

Insufficient physical activity and mostly sedentary behaviour are major factors leading to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) (WHO, 2016). Addressing this issue is a key priority of the World Health Organization (WHO, 2019). The WHO recommends that Member States develop national physical activity guidelines and integrated policies to improve physical activity rates. Unfortunately, this has not been achieved in Australia. Over the past 20 years, Australian National Health surveys have not improved (Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, 2018) as the percentage of adults meeting physical activity guidelines is worrying. Further, the Australian Government has not developed a specific and targeted national physical activity policy. However, a strategy is in early stages of development. (Department of Health, 2019).

This policy paper offers two key recommendations to increase physical activity rates amongst Australians, particularly in the community and workplace. Firstly, this is to be achieved through a Commonwealth-funded program to support local councils in developing active transport infrastructure. Additionally, this paper proposes implementing new Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) exemptions for employers offering incentives to boost physical activity in the workplace.

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