The AMA has adopted a new policy it hopes will inspire Australians to restore exercise as a central part of the Australian way of life, AMA President, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, said today.
"Australia has long been known as a great sporting country, with a robust culture of physical activity and the outdoors," Dr Haikerwal said.
"Sadly, the rising obesity trend is blotting our image as a fit and healthy nation.
"The AMA Position Statement on Physical Activity sets out simple steps and suggestions to help people adopt more active lifestyles."
Undertaking the equivalent of at least half an hour of moderate exercise per day helps people of all ages stay healthy, Dr Haikerwal said.
"Regular physical activity helps to maintain good health, protects against a range of chronic diseases, and plays an important role in managing many chronic diseases," he said.
At the core of the Position Statement is the principle that Australian Governments must do more to encourage ordinary Australians to incorporate more movement into their lives.
"The Federal Government should move beyond support for elite athletes to provide funding and opportunities for all Australians to get more active and healthy," Dr Haikerwal said.
"The Government has a responsibility to contribute to the improved health and wellbeing of Australians by making it easier for people of all ages to exercise every day."
The AMA calls for:
1. Cities to be designed to encourage safe physical activity, both formal and incidental, through the provision of facilities like playgrounds, cycle paths and walkways.
2. Physical education and physical activity to be universally incorporated into every school curriculum, and schools to be universally funded to support those programs.
3. Governments to support programs to encourage more physical activity for older people and people in institutional care.
4. Increased investment in research examining the risks and benefits of various forms of physical activity, and better data collection examining levels of physical activity across Australia's population.
"State, Territory and Federal Governments must see that it's in Australia's interests, both from a social and an economic point of view, to support people to do more exercise," Dr Haikerwal said.
"We've got to get Australia moving again."