Pedestrian Council of Australia
Safety – Amenity – Access – Health


Friday 3 October 2008

Att:  Ms Phynea Papal


Guardian Express


Royal Perth Hospital staff put their feet first for

National  Walk To Work Day – Friday 3 October 2008

‘By 2025, a total of 4.6 million Australians are projected to be obese’ 1 - Don’t be one of them!

Get walking on Friday 3 October, which is National Walk to Work Day (WTWD). Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) staff will be participating in lunch time walks taking place at both the Wellington Street and the Shenton Park campus.


RPH Acting Director of Nursing Carmel McCormack said walking is such a simple activity, yet the majority of Australians don’t do enough of it.  This is one of the key reasons that currently over half of the Australian population is overweight or obese.


“National Walk to Work Day is the perfect time to stop making excuses, do something good for yourself and develop a new healthy habit of regular physical activity.  Even if our staff can’t walk to work, they are encouraged to get involved and come along on the lunch time walk.  After all, walking is an easy, enjoyable, safe and sociable method of exercise and it makes you feel great,” said Ms McCormack.


National Walk to Work Day is held annually to remind all Australians that regular physical activity such as walking is a great way to not only avoid obesity but also a range of illnesses including high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis and cancer.


The facts speak for themselves.  Access Economics estimates that productivity losses due to obesity are at $3.6 billion and a further $2 billion in health costs, 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%), oesophagus (37%) and gall bladder (24%).

Ms McCormack believes that as a health service it is important to lead by example and encourage an active and healthy lifestyle.  She regularly walks to work and is a frequent user of the hospital’s gymnasium and pool.


“Maintaining some form of regular physical activity is so important and there are so many benefits to your health,” Ms McCormack said.


“RPH already has many initiatives in place to encourage staff to exercise regularly, including lunch time walking groups and early morning swimming groups, but I would like to urge even more of our staff to get involved on Walk to Work Day and join me for a lunch time walk,” Ms McCormack said.


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 truly an event for everyone.  We are 100 per cent behind this campaign because like many other public and private organisations across Australia, we believe the benefits of encouraging people to get fit and healthy by walking more, far outweighs the costs.“


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 Royal Perth Hospital staff walking, in preparation for Walk to Work Day, please contact:


Karen Kerlin                                                              Joanne Hill

PR Coordinator                                                         PR Manager

Walk to Work Day                                                     Royal Perth Hospital           

Phone 0414 443 964                                                  Phone 0404 894 034


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.