Central West fourth-fattest region in NSW, Heart Foundation launches Personal Walking Plans

Photo: Shutterstock.
Photo: Shutterstock.

New data from The Heart Foundation of Australia has revealed the Central West has the fourth-highest rate of obesity across the entire state, which is coupled with an alarming complacency in regards to exercise and heart health.

The data shows around 42 per cent of adults living in the Central West are defined as 'obese' and was released in line with The Heart Foundation's new Personal Walking Plans program, an initiative to get more Australians moving.

The figures also show the Central West ranks in the top 10 of 28 regions state-wide in terms of smoking, high blood pressure and physical inactivity as well, with more than 69 per cent of people fitting into the latter category.

The data takes in results from areas like Blayney, Orange, Bathurst, Cowra, Mudgee and Lithgow among others and also includes figures relating to hospital admissions as a result of heart attacks, and other heart-related diseases as well.

The Central West ranks 16th across the state in terms of heart attack hospitalisations at a rate of 14.9 people for every 10,000, which sits about three per cent above the state-wide average.

While the rate of hospitalisation for coronary heart disease is about 19 per cent below the state average, the death rate in that category across the region is nine per cent above it. At a rate of 70.5 deaths for every 100,000 people, the region ranks ninth in NSW.

The Heart Foundation Group CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, said the numbers are cause for concern.

He explained that while two in three people said they were aware exercise lowers their risk of heart disease, two thirds admitted they do not meet the standard for physical activity guidelines of 30 moderate minutes five or more days a week.

READ MORE: HHWC team pics

Those numbers came from a survey of more than 7,000 adults, with more than 40 per cent revealing they had been told by doctors they needed to be more active.

"Our research suggests that while many Australians know that movement is good for their hearts, they are not acting on this," he said.

"Overall, around one in two Australians aged 18-64 - that's almost eight million people - are not active enough for good heart health.

"This is extremely concerning given physical activity is a key risk factor for heart disease, which takes 50 Australian lives each day - one every 29 minutes."

To encourage more activity, The Heart Foundation launched its free, six-week Personal Walking Plans program, in which participants will receive a tailored plan based around their current activity levels.

Plans will be delivered via weekly emails and texts and people can sign up on The Heart Foundation's website.