ESSA is involved in and supports a wide range of broader public health prevention and health promotion campaigns and collaborations.
ESSA representatives attended the National Obesity Summit in February 2019 in Canberra which was hosted by the Australian Government Department of Health.
In relation to physical activity, ESSA participated in a national forum facilitated by the National Heart Foundation in 2015 with policy experts and key stakeholders to identify the main elements that would make up a National Physical Activity Action Plan.
The result of this forum and subsequent online consultation was the development of the ‘Move More, Sit Less’ Canberra Communique. This document outlines a set of nine action areas and a co-ordinated set of policies that governments and political parties can easily take on board and allocate funding towards getting Australians moving more and sitting less.
ESSA joins over 20 other organisations across government and the public health, education and community sectors as a proud signatory to this document and calls for a Federal Government National Physical Activity Action Plan.
The World Health Organization (WHO)’s goal to reduce physical inactivity by 15% by 2030 has been highlighted in tits recent Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030. This plan encourages countries to increase levels of physical activity through strengthening their response with evidence-based policy solutions, guidelines and implementation tools.
ESSA is urging the Australian Government to implement preventative health policies that invest in actions that promote walking, cycling, sport, active recreation and play which promotes community well-being and quality of life for all.
Accredited Exercise Scientists (AESs) play a significant role in prevention and health promotion. They are equipped with the knowledge and skills to improve health, fitness, well-being, performance, and assist in the prevention of chronic conditions.
Solutions to combat physical inactivity, especially in Australia, requires a whole of government approach.
With the release of the recent National Sports Plan by Sport Australia, it is encouraging to see that the Australian Government has building a more active Australia – more Australians, more active, more often as one of four key priorities.
The development and resourcing of a National Physical Activity Plan with funding provided for physical activity programs across at risk population groups is the next priority.
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.
Although the leading causes of death in Australia 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, and improves social interaction and community networks.
Exercise assists with the prevention of risk factors for chronic disease – 32% of Australia’s total burden of disease is attributed to modifiable risk factors that include smoking, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, high blood pressure and blood cholesterol, low consumption of fruits and vegetables and overweight and obesity. Physical activity 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.
An Accredited Exercise Scientist provides an evidence based practice approach to exercise and promotes and delivers individualised exercise programs to assist in preventing risk factors of chronic disease.
The future of Accredited Exercise Scientists will be best placed in environments and work places such as active transport, corporate health, health promotion, community health projects, but the Australian Government has an important role to play in initiating support to implement these community partnerships.
ESSA has launched the Active Nation campaign to move physical activity and exercise higher up on the Australian Government’s agenda and promote the benefits of the general public working with Accredited Exercise Scientists for prevention.