Carter / Designing a way to better health

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WE Australians like to think of ourselves as active, outdoorsy types. But the data tells a different story. Two thirds of us are overweight or obese and more than half of us live sedentary lifestyles with little or no physical activity.

Catherine Carter.
Catherine Carter.
Did you know that 10 per cent of all car trips in Australia are for journeys less than a kilometre? This is the equivalent of a 10-minute walk. Thirty per cent of all car trips are less than three kilometres.

When it takes just 30 minutes of physical activity a day to make a difference to a person’s health and wellbeing, it’s easy to see how those car trips can quickly add up to a weight problem.

This looming healthcare crisis is, as the author of “Walkable City”, Jeff Speck, says, an “urban design problem”.

In fact, the Heart Foundation says our urban environment is so central to our lifestyles that our postcode has become a key determinant of our prospect for living a healthy life.

Canberra’s built environment industry understands it has a role to play in creating a healthy city. Good design and people-friendly spaces and places enhance liveability and promote active lifestyles by encouraging walking, cycling, public transport and active recreation. Parks and footpaths, bike lanes and landscaped walking trails can encourage us to get moving.

Each year the Property Council hosts the annual Pedal Pursuit. On  Wednesday, November 11, hard hats and suits will make way for Lycra when teams tackle the 20km or 40km courses before returning to Stromlo Forest for a networking breakfast.

Catherine Carter is ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia

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Catherine Carter
Former ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia

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