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Stroll, Strut, Stride Starts

HEALTH Minister Wyatt Creech and Ministry of Health staff will practise what they preach when they launch the Stroll, Strut, Stride campaign today. (Wednesday, Sept 15)

The man with the top health job and the people who continually remind the public of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle will gather at Parliament and walk along Lambton Quay.

Their walk is the start of the Heart Foundation's annual Stroll, Strut, Stride campaign, which aims to get as many people exercising as possible.

Mr Creech has just recovered from a broken ankle and says walking is good rehabilitation, as well as being beneficial to overall health.

Participants in Stroll, Strut, Stride are challenged to walk either the length of New Zealand (2113km) or the North (1098km) or South Island (915km) over a period of eleven weeks in teams of about 10 people. The average team member would need to walk about 20km a week for the team to have walked the country's length.

"The aim of the programme is to show people that fitting exercise into their days is easy and can be fun and social. Just a walk each day can have real health benefits for the individual and it doesn't have to be too strenuous," Heart Foundation Regional Workplace Coordinator Clelia Lind said.

"Last year 181 teams participated involving 1735 people.

"We are particularly targetting workplaces as it is an ideal base to form groups and walk either before or after work or during a lunch break," Mrs Lind said.

Ministry of Health Acting Director of Public Health Dr Bob Boyd urged people to participate in the wake of the 1997 National Nutrition Survey findings, which showed New Zealanders were getting fatter. More than half New Zealand's population was now either overweight or obese, the survey found.

"Leading an active lifestyle is a vital factor in maintaining a good weight, along with a good diet," Dr Boyd said.

"Simple and fun programmes like Stroll, Strut, Stride are a good way to start increasing physical activity," he said.

Dr Boyd will be participating in Stroll, Strut, Stride, having joined a Ministry of Health team.

ENDS

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