Heart Foundation Walking has been hailed as a best practice example for positively impacting the health of Australia’s socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.
The debate piece, published in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, looked to explore the role behavioural scientists can play in addressing socioeconomic inequities in nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviour.
Despite the many known barriers to behaviour change faced by those experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage, Heart Foundation Walking has been celebrated in the debate piece as an initiative that shows it is possible to engage with, and promote healthy behaviours amongst this community.
National Heart Foundation Walking Manager, Michelle Wilson says Heart Foundation Walking exemplifies a universal approach to physical activity promotion, targeting the whole population, including but not limited to, socioeconomically disadvantaged participants.
“Socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals are known to be less likely to engage in eating and physical activity behaviours beneficial to good health and are more likely to face inequities in obesity and health outcomes,” says Wilson.
“However the problem extends to more than half of the Australian adult population who are not active enough to gain the health and wellbeing benefits of being physically active, such as reduced blood pressure, improved mental health, and maintaining a healthy weight.
“The Heart Foundation encourages every Australian to move more and sit less, with the simple act of walking for 30 minutes a day or more reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as half.
“Heart Foundation Walking offers a free and social community-based program that encourages people from all walks of life and fitness levels to engage in and experience the benefits of regular physical activity.”