Health and Wellbeing Queensland Supports Outback Girls to Get Active

 An outback community which has banded together to support girls to be active and healthy will receive a Health and Wellbeing Queensland (HWQld) boost to help tackle obesity in the bush. 

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said Blackall-Tambo Regional Council, with support of Central West Hospital and Health Service and Western Queensland Primary Health Network, had recently appointed a Sport and Recreation Officer to work with young females as part of a place-based, community-driven healthy lifestyle project. 

Today announcing $75,000 of HWQld funding to develop and grow the initiative, Minister Miles said the project aimed to tackle obesity and unhealthy weight by involving the whole community in creating solutions, from running fitness and nutrition activities for families to mentoring local healthcare professionals and workers to provide support to Blackall-Tambo residents and patients. 

Minister Miles said to celebrate the project, students and families across the region have been invited to a health and fitness event at Blackall State School this afternoon with special guest Queensland Firebirds netballer Tara Hinchliffe. 

“The Queensland Government is committed to supporting communities to become places where healthy behaviour is easy, affordable, and enjoyable, and where being active and eating healthy food are part of everyday life,” Minister Miles said. 

“Many people from across the Blackall-Tambo region have come together to get this initiative off the ground and this funding from HWQld will enable them to build on these strong foundations. 

“One in four Queensland children and two in three adults are overweight or obese. Also, people living in remote areas are more likely to be at an unhealthy weight compared to those living in major cities. This is far, far too many people at risk of disease, early death and a poor quality of life. 

“Our government is committed to creating a healthier population by investing in preventive health and the establishment of HWQld as Queensland’s first dedicated statutory health promotion agency demonstrates that.” 

HWQld Board Chair Dr John Wakefield said the project focused on 12-18 year old females as evidence showed this was when girls typically stopped engaging in as much sport and become more sedentary, increasing their risk of obesity and chronic disease into adulthood. 

“This is not limited to Blackall but we know is a wider trend across many communities,” Dr Wakefield said. 

“In Blackall, there has been a strong commitment and support from the community to address concerns about this trend. Local government, schools, health services and non-government organisations have all come together. 

“Importantly, while the focus of this project is addressing healthy weight and better health for young females, it will establish the foundations for a healthier community overall. 

“HWQld recognises that obesity and unhealthy behaviours are complex challenges. How we will shift the dial is by reaching across traditional service boundaries and getting all of the partners in a community working together.” 

Blackall-Tambo Mayor Andrew Martin said supporting the health of residents through community activities was a priority for Blackall-Tambo Regional Council. 

“We are all very proud of who we are, where we are and what we do, but perhaps more to do with where we are, we are sometimes not so aware of the need to look after ourselves as well as we could,” Cr Martin said. 

“Activity, in the broader interpretation of the word, particularly for the younger and the older members of our community is not always as accessible as it is in larger metropolitan areas. 

“The program being undertaken here has the full support of Council and I thank all the various service providers who are giving their great support to what could easily be termed a ‘pilot’ tailored for remote communities.” 

The project aims to establish strong foundations for more integrated services in the region, through a joined-up health and wellbeing vision that is led and championed by the community. 

ENDS 

Media contact: media@hw.qld.gov.au

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