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Physical Activity

Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity is clearly linked to reductions in the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. It also helps to control weight and prevent obesity.

Some of the benefits of moderate physical activity include:

  • halving the risk of coronary heart disease
  • halving the risk of colon cancer
  • lowering the risk of diabetes
  • lowering the risk of osteoporosis
  • lowering blood pressure
  • improving lipid profile
  • improving mental health

Additional benefits are obtained with vigorous activity, but this may not be achievable by many people, so moderate activity remains a feasible recommendation for all adults. In particular, being more active halves the risk of coronary heart disease. Other evidence consistently suggests that activity lowers the risk of developing diabetes, prevents colon cancer and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

While the origins of overweight and obesity are complex, a lack of physical activity is a significant contributing factor. Normal regulation of body weight occurs when energy intake equals energy expenditure. A simplified model of weight regulation shows that weight gain may result when there is inadequate physical activity (energy expenditure) to balance our food consumption (energy intake).

Given the importance of physical activity and the maintenance of healthy weight, NSW Health is committed to a range of initiatives to encourage the NSW community to participate in a more active lifestyle. Descriptions of some of these initiatives can be found within this section.

This web page is managed and authorised by Centre for Health Advancement of the NSW Department of Health. Last updated: 31 March, 2009

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