National Heart Foundation launch
Speech by the Minister for Health and Ageing, Tony Abbott, at the National Heart Foundation launch, Sydney, Tuesday 2 May 2006.
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PDF printable version of National Heart Foundation launch (PDF 20 KB)
2 May 2006
Thanks very much Ben and thanks Peter.
I want to say what a pleasure it is to be in the company of Elka and Bill and, particularly, Alan Wadell. What a legend, Alan, if you’re walking as much as you do at that age. But it’s great to be in the presence of many people today who take exercise seriously because they know what good things it can do for virtually every aspect of a person’s life.
Lyn, you’re very, very good to remind us of the problem of obesity in our society and the serious consequences that obesity has for individuals and for our society. As you say, some two-thirds of adult males are overweight, about a half of adult females are overweight and overweight and obesity has a range of serious health consequences. We are more disposed to get diabetes, and obviously today we are particularly conscious of the added risk of cardiovascular disease if you are overweight or obese.
I was appalled to remind myself this morning that almost four million Australians suffer from some form of cardiovascular impairment. I guess I’ve always known that cardiovascular disease was our biggest killer, accounting for almost 40 per cent of all deaths. But then I learnt, as I read my material for this morning, that some 7000 Australians die every year directly because of cardiovascular disease linked to being seriously overweight. That’s 20 people a day die of cardiovascular disease because they are seriously overweight. Now that is a big, big, problem.
Now, as Lyn said, all of us have a responsibility to try and do something about this. Governments need to ensure that people have more information and are given more encouragement and whatever possible good example. Certainly, I’m very keen to see that people are much better informed about what it is that they’re putting into their mouths and what it is that that might be doing to them, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m so pleased to be launching this booklet.
Did you know that one small chocolate bar is about 1200 kilojoules or about 300 calories, in the old language? And to work off that small chocolate bar is about an hour’s solid walking? That’s incredible, isn’t it? A chocolate bar is going to take an hour’s moderate exercise to work off. And is it any wonder that so many of us pile on the weight when our daily diet might comprise of a chockie bar, a couple packets of chips, a couple cans of Coke, and so on?
So I think it’s very important that we become more conscious of just what it is we’re putting in our mouths - more conscious of just what we need to do by way of exercise to burn all of that off.
Now, I’m not the kind of person who is naturally in favour of banning things and passing laws. Because I don’t want us to live in some kind of cotton ball, cocoon society. But I do think that it’s important that we know precisely what it is that we’re doing to ourselves and precisely what we need to do to protect ourselves - sometimes from the consequences of our own indulgence.
And that’s why I think what the Heart Foundation is doing today is so important and that’s why I’m so pleased to be associated with this launch. And most of all, that’s why I’m so pleased to be amongst people who are setting a good example.
I want to particularly congratulate all the Heart Foundation walkers down the back there. You’re a model and an inspiration and I look forward to joining you in a few moments for a brisk walk around part of this beautiful Centennial Park of ours.
So ladies and gentlemen, thanks for being here to help launch Heart Week and I am very happy to declare this booklet officially launched onto a needy world.
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