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Medibank aligns with activity and sport programs

February 5, 2011

As part of encouraging people to live longer in good health, Australia’s Medibank Community Fund has announced two exciting partnerships which aim to get people moving – one with Healthy Parks Healthy People, and one with the Heart Foundation.

Medibank Managing Director, George Savvides “Medibank is committed to raising the physical activity levels of Australians and one of the primary objectives of the Medibank Community Fund is to get people moving. 

“We are partnering with these two great organisations to help achieve this goal, and we will be promoting the programs through our Australia-wide network of 4,000 employees, 158 retail outlets, 66 health clinics and 3.7 million customers.”

Mediban highlights that physical inactivity is a major health problem in Australia, with more than half of the adult population not sufficiently physically active to gain health benefits. The direct and indirect costs of obesity and obesity-related illnesses in 2008/09 were estimated to be $37.7 billion and it is estimated that 7,200 Australians die each year due to obesity and obesity-related illness.

Healthy Parks Healthy People
Parks are an important part of improving and maintaining health, both for individuals and the community. They provide a place to exercise and so can improve our physical and mental health. Green space also has a proven benefit on wellbeing – with nature being a buffer to stress and the development of mental illness. 

Dr Rob Grenfell of the Healthy Parks Healthy People Program explained “a recent British Medical Journal study found that those people living in areas with green space undertook three times more physical activity and had a 50 percent less chance of having obesity. With Medibank’s support we can encourage more people to get outside and exercise in Australia’s great parks and open spaces.”

Additionally, the MCF will be piloting a ground breaking program in partnership with Healthy Parks Healthy People which will provide health care professionals with resources and support to prescribe physical activity in parks as a means of pro-active health prevention. 

Heart Foundation Walking Groups
The Medibank Community Fund’s partnership with the National Heart Foundation of Australia focuses on expanding the Heart Foundation Walking program.

Heart Foundation Walking is Australia’s only truly national network of walking groups which are free to participants – with more than 1,000 walking groups throughout Australia.

There are walking groups to suit all levels of fitness and lifestyles – dog walking groups, mums with prams, people who are getting active after years on the couch and fast-paced walkers.

Heart Foundation National Chief Executive Dr Lyn Roberts explains “the simple act of walking for 30 minutes a day or more can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as half.

“We are thrilled to have the support of the Medibank Community Fund to grow the reach of our walking groups, help us to get more Australians walking and in turn help improve the health of our nation.”

The Medibank Community Fund supports initiatives that enable and encourage people to live longer and in good health by staying mentally and physically active.

As a leading provider of the health and medical services, Medibank has a valuable role to play in improving the wellbeing of Australian communities. It has the capability and resources to assist Australians by taking a proactive approach to preventative health.

Through the Medibank Community Fund, Medibank is investing one per cent of its pre-tax profit to what it believes is a most important cause.

The Medibank Community Fund has three strategic priorities:

• To encourage people to adopt healthier eating habits;
• To encourage the take-up of physical activity; and
• To encourage greater community connectedness.

Medibank’s major focus is on preventative health and the Fund is its way of encouraging communities to adopt healthier habits today for a healthier tomorrow.

Medibank is also the naming rights sponsor for the Icehouse indoor ice sports centre in the Melbourne Docklands and backs a range of events and initiatives including tennis' Medibank International, held each year at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre; Junior Tennis in NSW, 'Active Tasmania'; the West Coast Eagles Football Club; the Northern Territory’s Simply the Breast Yacht Race; the Scarboro Surf Life Saving Club and the Chinese Youth League Dragon Boat Team.

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