Funding boost for healthier lifestyles

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 15th December 2009

The Federal Government’s Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, has announced a funding program for local governments to foster healthier lifestyles. The move is in line with preventative health measures. These measures include dietary education programs that are aimed at reducing the prevalence of obesity.

Minister Roxon said, “The Rudd Government knows that the cost of inaction on chronic disease is too high. We know that cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and diabetes account for one-quarter of Australia’s burden of disease and almost two-thirds of all deaths.”

The Rudd government has committed $872 million for health promotion and preventative health, and Minister Roxon said, “$72 million is available to support Local Government Areas (LGAs) in delivering […] community-based physical activity and dietary education programs, as well as developing a range of policy environments to support healthy lifestyle behaviours.” There will initially be 12 pilot grants in program will be awarded in early 2010, with 92 sites across the four years of the program.

According to Minister Roxon, “The Healthy Communities Initiative aims to help reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity within participating communities by maximising the number of at-risk individuals engaged in physical activity and dietary education programs. The initiative will target individuals at a high risk of developing chronic disease and not predominantly in the paid workforce.”

This injection of funding comes as the Bill to establish the National Preventative Health Agency has stalled in the Australian Senate after being introduced in mid November. The Senate reconvenes in February 2010.