National Preventive Health Strategy

The Australian Government has released the National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030, with a vision to improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians, and a focus on increasing physical activity via the provision of active transport networks.

National Preventive Health Strategy. Image credit: Australian Government.
Vision and aims. Image credit: Australian Government.
Seven focus areas.Image credit: Australian Government.

The National Preventive Health Strategy presents a powerful opportunity for Australia to build a sustainable prevention system for the future – building on previous success and momentum, addressing the increasing burden of disease, reducing health inequity and increasing preparedness for emerging health threats.

National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030

Increasing physical activity

One of the seven focus areas is to increase physical activity:

Australia has a strong sporting culture which is intrinsically linked to our identity as a nation. However, this does not translate into our day- to-day lives and we are generally not physically active enough to receive the numerous co- benefits that movement brings to individuals and communities. Being physically active and achieving adequate sleep are essential components of preventing poor physical health and for establishing and maintaining strong mental health and wellbeing.

National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030

In Australia, the overall rates of physical inactivity have not changed significantly since 2011 and consequently, Australia was poorly ranked 97-out-of-168 countries by the WHO for physical activity levels in 2016. The ramifications of this immense inactivity are experienced across all levels of society in Australia.

National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030

Regular physical activity at all stages of life also plays an integral role in preventing overweight and obesity, and consequently, with no changes to the population’s activity levels, Australia is still battling an obesity epidemic.

National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030

Just like altering environments to make healthy food choices the easy choice, opportunities for physical activity must also be accessible and the environments in which we live, work, play, and age need to support us to be more active more regularly.

National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030
Targets for physical activity.Image credit: Australian Government.

Specifically, theNational Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030 states that urban design should support physical activity by providing active transport networks:

Policy achievements by 2030.Image credit: Australian Government.

What Yarra can do

As identified in the National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030, the City of Yarra can prioritise urban design and infrastructure to support physical activity by providing public open spaces and active transport networks. Pleasingly, the national strategy aligns with many of Yarra’s strategies, including the walking strategy, cycling strategy, physical activity strategy, 0-25 years plan, and health plan (incorporated into the council plan).

Priorities >> Active Neighbourhoods >> Increase walkability and cycling

Physical Activity Strategy 2021-2031
Physical Activity Strategy 2021-2031. Image credit: City of Yarra.

Our view

Streets Alive Yarra believes that the City of Yarra should align with the National Preventive Health Strategy 2021-2030, and by 2030, should upgrade all Local Area Place Making (LAPM) areas into Low Traffic Neighbourhoods that are linked by a network of protected bike lanes; hosting trees, pocket parks and wide, safe footpaths. The budget to support these capital works is readily available via reforms to how on-street parking is priced.

Published 2nd January 2022