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Australian Expert Comments On Kiwi Activity

Tuesday 6 November 2001

Australian Expert Comments On Kiwi Activity Levels

Visiting Australian academic Professor Adrian Bauman has praised New Zealanders as world leaders in being active. But he warns that the couch potato phenomenon that is sweeping the world may hit hard here if New Zealanders follow that same couch potato path as Americans, British and Australians.

Professor Bauman is a world authority on physical activity campaigns and has advised the Australian government on the Active Australia campaign. He has also consulted on campaigns in the UK, USA, South America and Canada. He is in New Zealand to assess plans for this Friday's national Push Play day and to meet physical activity promotors and analysts.

Professor Bauman said growing obesity levels cannot be ignored, and peoples' everyday physical activity participation was a crucial part of avoiding obesity and the many health issues which it provokes.

"People face a twin threat from high energy foods and low energy expenditure, partly due to busy lifestyles. If we don't burn the energy we consume, it quickly hits us on our personal 'bottom lines'".

"The Push Play campaign is right up there with world best practice in this field of informing and motivating the community to consider being more active. Combined with Green prescriptions, it is innovative and effective. Other nations can learn much from it" Professor Bauman said.

Referring to Hillary Commission research, Professor Bauman described New Zealand as on of the 'most walked' nation on earth.

"New Zealanders walk for exercise far more than people in other similar countries. The number who are walking is over 80% of adult New Zealanders, which leaves other nations far behind.

There's a simple cure for most of today's modern ills, and that cure is: walk".

Professor Bauman questioned the value of a 'trickle down theory' for physical activity. He noted that Australian athletes had enjoyed great success at the Sydney Olympics, but at the same time ordinary Australians were doing less everyday physical activity. There is good evidence, he noted, especially among adults, that the Sydney olympics did very little to increase participation levels in the community.

"It's about everyday people leading everyday lives. People needed to understand that 30 minutes a day of moderate level physical activity will add hugely to their health prospects and quality of life".

He hoped New Zealanders would enjoy the latest Push Play advertising and get the message on November 9th to " go out there and have fun. Do anything, as long as it's physical".

--- ENDS ---

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