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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3887 ..

Health and fitness

MS MacDONALD (10.42): I move:

That the Assembly:

(1) congratulates Fitness ACT for holding a successful Health and Fitness Expo on September 20, 2003; and

(2) recognises the importance of promoting health and fitness in the ACT.

Mr Speaker, all Australians, including Canberrans, are getting bigger and becoming less active every day. The most recent figures released on Monday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics support this statement, revealing that more than 42 per cent of the ACT population falls either into the overweight or obese category-30,000 people more than 12 years ago. And the problem will worsen unless health and fitness levels in Australia and the ACT are addressed now. Education is the key and that is why the Fitness ACT Health and Fitness Expo needs to be commended and recognised today.

Mr Speaker, this expo has made an enormous contribution to understanding health and fitness issues for the ACT community. The Health and Fitness Expo held on 20 September this year at Exhibition Park was a great success, with more than 300 people attending the event. Fittingly themed "Keeping YOUth Alive", the expo offered visitors a huge variety of events, educational information and advice.

With 17 exhibitors, stage demonstrations showcasing the many different activities people can get involved with in the ACT were held throughout the day. Ranging from pilates, to aerobics, to a laughing group and to juggling for fitness, the demonstrations provided something for everybody.

Two relevant symposiums were also held in conjunction with the expo: "Combating Childhood Obesity with Exercise"and "The Ageing Symposium"; and several seminars addressing issues including nutrition, the benefits of massage and youth suicide also proved popular with, and valuable to, expo visitors.

This is the second year for the expo, Mr Speaker-the first, which was held in September last year, also attracted hundreds of local and interstate visitors. The organiser, Fitness ACT, have been even more successful with their second expo and are to be congratulated. I would like to congratulate and thank the 2003 Health and Fitness Expo committee, Dr Dion Klein, Ray Ballantyne, Pamela Neame, Clare O'Dwyer and Alison Dart, for putting on such a successful expo. Major sponsors ACT Health and Healthy Worksites also need to be recognised for their contributions.

So why is the continuation and growth of this event, and others like it, so important in the ACT? All we need to do is look at the statistics to answer this question. Firstly, we should look at the increasing figures of obesity in our society. In the past 20 years the number of obese Australians has doubled, with 60 per cent of the population now considered either overweight or obese. In fact, the number of young people presenting as overweight or obese is increasing at an alarming rate and has more than doubled in the

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