Pedestrian Council of Australia
Safety – Amenity – Access – Health


Monday 22nd September 2008

Lynne calls on others to be Walking Class Heroes for

National Walk to Work Day - Friday 3 October 2008

 ‘By 2025, approximately 4.6 million Australians are expected to be obese’.1 People living in rural and remote areas generally have shorter lives.  They also have higher levels of chronic disease compared with their city cousins. Don’t be a statistic!

WTWD is truly an event for everyone.  Across Australia public and private organisations of all sizes including Gascoyne Primary Health unit are walking to raise awareness and to encourage other local businesses to participate in WTWD.

Lynne Mitchell, Healthy Lifestyle Officer with Gascoyne Primary Health, thinks that Walk to Work Day is the perfect opportunity to remind people that every step counts.   She will be pounding the pavement for WTWD, as a Walking Class Hero, and encourages others to do the same.


Walking is such a simple activity, yet the majority of Australians and people in rural and remote towns without a range of transport options, don’t do it enough. 

“This is one of the key reasons over half of our population is currently overweight or obese and too many people in rural and remote areas are dying younger than their city counterparts,” said Harold Scruby, CEO of the Pedestrian Council of Australia.

“Of particular concern is that coronary heart disease, asthma, cancer and diabetes are the biggest killers in rural and remote towns across Australia. You don’t have to walk all the way to work, just part of it. If you live some distance away, then drive to work and park at least one kilometre away and walk the rest or include a walk into your day.  Taking the stairs instead of the lift is another good option,” Harold said.

WTWD is organised annually by the Pedestrian Council to remind all Australians regular walking is a great way to avoid obesity and a range of illnesses including high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and arthritis.

The facts speak for themselves.  Access Economics estimates that nationally, productivity losses due to obesity are $3.6 billion and a further $2 billion in health costs per annum, while the combined financial costs of the obesity related ‘big three’ is $19.5 billion dollars per annum. (Diabetes $3 billion; cardio vascular disease $13.1 billion; and cancers $3.4 billion). Meanwhile, 23.8% of Type 2 diabetes and 21.3% of Cardio Vascular Disease is caused by obesity. Obesity and being overweight are also important causes of cancer, particularly cancers of the colon (11%), breast cancer in post-menopausal women (9%), uterus (39%), kidney (25%), oesophagous (37%) and gall bladder (24%)

Walking along with other therapies can also be used to overcome mild to moderate depression which accounts for three to four days off work per month for each person experiencing depression – the equivalent of more than six million working days per year in Australia2. Undiagnosed depression costs $4.3 billion dollars in lost productivity annually3.

“WTWD is the perfect time to stop making excuses, to do something good for yourself and develop a new healthy habit of regular physical activity. After all, walking is an easy, enjoyable, safe and sociable method of exercise and makes you feel great. Best of all you can do it any time, any where and it’s free!” Harold said.

Harold reminds other Gascoyne residents to also be Walking Class Heroes and follow in the footsteps of Lynne - make a step towards better health and cleaner air, no matter where they work or reside. Organisations and individuals can register for Walk to Work Day at .   There is no cost to register or participate.


For more information or to set up a photo shot of Lynne and other Gascoyne health staff warming up and stretching before a walk, in preparation for Walk to Work Day, please contact:  Lynne Mitchell on  ph: 9941 0582 or email:  




1 Diabetes Australia/Access Economics Report 2008

2 Andrews G, Hall W, Teesson M, and Henderson S. (1999). The Mental Health of Australians. Mental Health Branch, Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care.

3 Hilton, M. (2004). Assessing the financial return on investment of good management strategies and the WORC Project. The University of Queensland.