Heart Foundation Walking celebrates 20 years of success!
Heart Foundation Walking (HFW) has marked its 20th Anniversary with a celebratory community walk through the Melbourne CBD to the Parliament of Victoria today.
Joining HFW members and volunteers on the walk was National Heart Foundation CEO, Mary Barry, former Carlton footballing legend, Justin Madden and Medical Practitioner, Seven Network Health Editor and Heart Week Ambassador, Dr Andrew Rochford.
Ms Barry said the walk was organised as part of nation-wide Heart Week (3-9 May 2015) celebrations to mark HFW’s 20th Anniversary, and to support the Heart Foundation’s ‘Move More, Sit Less!’ physical activity campaign.
“HFW has made an outstanding contribution in encouraging Australians to become more physically active, with over 70,000 Australians having taken part in more than four million recorded walks since 1995,” Ms Barry said.
“2015 alone has seen 2,000 new walkers participate in the HFW program, with nearly 50 new walking groups established across the country.
“As such, there could be no better way to celebrate 20 years of success for HFW than by staging a community walk through the heart of the beautiful city of Melbourne.
“This walk symbolises the fact that being active every day, even in small ways like taking a walk at lunchtime or taking regular breaks from sitting at work, can have significant health benefits.
“The focus on physical activity this Heart Week is a timely reminder that your risk of heart disease can be reduced through modest but regular amounts of physical activity.
“On behalf of the Heart Foundation, I congratulate all involved with HFW, including its dedicated staff and wonderful members and volunteers for all they have achieved this past 20 years.”
Michelle Wilson, HFW National Program Manager, said walking is a fun, friendly and cost-effective way of improving overall health and well-being.
“Walking is a perfect way to improve your heart health in a friendly and social environment and best of all costs nothing,” Ms Wilson said.
“We need to get all Australians moving more and sitting less, with physical inactivity a leading contributor to the burden of chronic disease in Australia, at an estimated total cost to the health budget of $1.5 billion.”
Dr Ian Boyd, Medibank Consulting GP, said heart diseases are a serious health issue impacting thousands of Australians.
“We are facing an epidemic where cardiovascular diseases are becoming more prevalent which is impacting quality of life, mortality and more broadly the health system,” Dr Boyd said.
“That’s why Medibank and the Heart Foundation believe it is so important to encourage people to take small steps to not only better heart health but the overall physical and mental well-being of all Australians.”
The first Heart Foundation walking groups hit the pavement back in 1995. Many of these groups are still active and walking today, with over 70,000 Australians having taken part in more than four million recorded walks!
Heart Foundation Walking is a free program – to join a group near you call 1300 36 27 87 or visit walking.heartfoundation.org.au. The program is funded nationally by the Medibank Community Fund and the ACT Government through ACT Health.
For more information about Heart Week or the ‘Move More, Sit Less!’ campaign visit heartfoundation.org.au
As of the 30th April 2015, Heart Foundation Walking has 20,105 active participants incorporating:
- 17,918 Walkers.
- 1,916 volunteer Walk Organisers.
- 1,296 walking groups throughout Australia.
- 271 Local Coordinators in local government and community settings.