Being physically active and limiting sedentary behaviour every day is good for your health and has other benefits to. Rail trails provide quick and easy access for surrounding houses and communities to engage in physical activity and help their overall health. One of the key benefits will be to help combat child and youth obesity.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare almost 2 in 3 adults (63%) are overweight or obese1. 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese1 and 44% of 2-17 year olds spent more time using a screen-based device than engaging in physical activity2. In 2011-12 data showed that 56% of Australian adults were inactive or insufficiently active1. Being overweight or obese is the second biggest risk factor for type two diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease3.
15% more people living in regional and remote areas are overweight or obese than people living in major cities1. Rail trails can help combat this by providing safe and easily accessible areas to walk or ride a bike along.
The rail trail will provide a regional facility for active recreation that will have a good fit with local sporting organisations who are enthusiastic supporters of the idea of a rail trail. We expect it will become the focus of new recreational activities such as organised family rides and become incorporated into fitness programs. It will provide social and health benefits for youth by giving them the freedom to walk, ride and run safely with their friends.
The Department of Health recommend that children and young people from 5-17 years old do 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise per day4. Adults should aim for 30 minutes a day, or 2 ½ to 5 hours of moderate exercise a week4. Moderate exercise includes brisk walking or riding a bike, for which the rail trails are perfect!
- Obesity and overweight facts: http://www.aihw.gov.au/overweight-and-obesity
- 4364.0.55.004 – Australian Health Survey: Physical Activity, 2011-12
- Risk factors for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidnedy disease http://www.aihw.gov.au/cvd-diabetes-ckd/risk-factors/
- Australia’s Physical Activity Guidelinehttp://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines