02 December 2015

Five towns from across the state have been selected to participate in the NSW Healthy Town Challenge 2016. The joint initiative of the NSW Office of Preventive Health and the Heart Foundation aims to turn the tide on the rising levels of obesity.

The towns selected to participate in the 2016 Healthy Town Challenge are: Coolamon from Murrumbidgee, Cowra and Warren from Western NSW, Eurobodalla from Southern NSW and Sanctuary Point from Illawarra Shoalhaven.

Professor Chris Rissel, Director of the NSW Office of Preventive Health, said the Healthy Town Challenge does a great job of supporting local partnerships between communities and businesses, government and non-government agencies to improve the health of their communities.

“The initiatives for the Challenge will be developed and coordinated by local committees with support from NSW Health and the Heart Foundation,” Professor Rissel said.

Julie Anne Mitchell, Heart Foundation NSW Cardiovascular Health Director, said the charity was proud to be involved in an initiative that provided support and strategies for people in their local communities that will help towards better health outcomes.

“The Heart Foundation will play an active role working with local community members to put in place practical ideas to eat well, move more and sit less,” Ms Mitchell said.

“This initiative highlights the important role towns can play in reducing the burden of chronic diseases such as heart disease, the leading cause of death in both NSW and Australia.”

The NSW Healthy Town Challenge 2016 follows the successful inaugural Challenge in 2014-15.

Applications were open to towns outside the greater Sydney metropolitan area with populations between 1000 and 15,000. Each selected town will be provided a grant award of $15,000, and they will compete to win a first prize of $5,000.

Professor Rissel said, “It will be timely for the selected towns to work with the NSW Government and the Heart Foundation to make healthy normal.”

For information on the Healthy Town Challenge contact Professor Chris Rissel on 0401 744 876.