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With the first campaign of Life Be In It in the 70s to the establishment of the National Physical Activity Guidelines in 2004, there has been consistent messaging about how much physical activity we need each day – at least 30 minutes a day most days a week. Whilst we know the importance of getting our 30 minutes a day – over half of our population isn’t doing this.

Physical activity guidelines are good, but they are only one part of an overarching national physical activity strategy; a strategy that needs to be multifaceted and challenges sedentary living at various angles. This includes not promoting a prescriptive amount of exercise each day but includes promoting that even a small amount of physical activity is a good choice over remaining sedentary, and focuses on how people feel when they experiences the joy of movement and living an active life.

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Screen-based technology is seen as a large contributor to our increasingly sedentary lives. But as the Pokémon Go phenomenon shows no signs of abating, health professionals and researchers are starting to question whether tablets and smart phones could hold the key to getting people moving more and sitting less.

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More than 11 million Australians are overweight or obese and, every day, 40 of us will die as a result of physical inactivity. A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed that, despite these frightening statistics, treating chronic diseases accounts for approximately 50% of our overall health budget, yet expenditure on prevention accounts for only 1.8% of the health budget.

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Four thousand families in the ACT are set to become Mighty Movers and experience the fun and joy being physically active together brings. Thanks to a Healthy Canberra grant from the ACT Government, we have partnered with YMCA Canberra to reach every family attending a Canberra playgroup over the next three years. The program aims to create a new generation of Australians who embrace physical activity at an early age, establishing a love of physical activity for life.

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More than 1500 students have become peer leaders in the two years since we introduced our Active Leaders Program. Bluearth Active Leaders spend a year developing leadership and communication skills as well as resilience, respect and cooperation, to become community advocates for healthy lifestyles. As part of the program, the coordinate two events – one for their peers and one for the wider school community.

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