Physical inactivity the Cinderella of risk factors

Emeritus Professor Adrian Bauman AO is incredibly passionate about the issue of physical activity and systems change and provided a true masterclass at the July Prevention Works LIVE. He spoke about the need for taking a systems approach to tackle the complex and ‘wicked’ issue of physical inactivity if we have any chance of meeting the WHO goal of reducing inactivity by 15% by 2030.

He described physical inactivity as the ‘Cinderella of risk factors’ because it lives everywhere but no one takes responsibility. We cannot rely on health systems alone to tackle this issue as it requires commitment and engagement from other sectors such as planning, transport, environment and a myriad of others given the breadth of what impacts on physical activity.  He noted that a whole community intervention approach is the key to success and that this is much broader than a whole-of-government initiative if a systems approach is to succeed.

Adrian was joined at the webinar by Dr Natasha Schranz, Wellbeing SA Principal Physical Activity Officer. She acknowledged the importance of building relationships across different research and policy sectors and pointed to Adrian’s reputation in this area. PWL Host, Prevention Centre Co-Director Prof Lucie Rychetnik described Adrian as the ‘go-to’ academic for government policy advisors and the webinar demonstrated why. If you missed this event watch the webinar recording here.

Adrian is one of the founding investigators of the Prevention Centre and we are proud to note that not only is he one of the most highly cited researchers but was also recently awarded an Order of Australia medal for his service to public health and prevention of chronic diseases. Congratulations! 

In acknowledging the vital role of relationship building between researchers and policymakers, Adrian described the Prevention Centre as the interface between academia and policy in Australia. He noted that we have practically ‘written the book’ on physical activity with our Getting Australia Active report and encouraged webinar participants to read up on this major Prevention Centre research project.