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Healthy Heart of Victoria

What is the Healthy Heart of Victoria?

Healthy Heart of Victoria (HHV) is an initiative aimed at improving the health of people in the Loddon Campaspe region – the ‘heart’ of Victoria.

The initiative was developed in response to the higher than Victorian average rates of obesity, chronic disease and high-risk health behaviours currently seen within the region.

Healthy Heart of Victoria projects are designed to focus on those parts of the community that are the least active and least supported. The initiative aims to get more people, more active, more often.

Mount Alexander Shire Council is one of six local councils involved in the initiative. Other councils involved are Campaspe Shire, Central Goldfields Shire, City of Greater Bendigo, Loddon Shire and Macedon Ranges Shire.

Background

In 2016 the community told the Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership that it was concerned about health statistics and outcomes in the region. They also believed that health is everyone’s business, not just health services and professionals.

A series of design workshops were undertaken to address these concerns, involving over 100 stakeholders from local government, health services, primary care partnerships, universities and state government departments to develop the Healthy Heart of Victoria implementation framework. Subsequently, in 2018 the Healthy Heart of Victoria initiative was funded $5M.

There are three main components to the initiative. These are the Active Living Census, Infrastructure and activation and a Health Broker.

The Active Living Census

A survey was conducted in May and June 2019 to help with planning for health and recreation services and allow better understanding of people’s activity levels and preferences.

First conducted within the City of Greater Bendigo in 2014, the Active Living Census (ALC) was carried out across all households in the Loddon Campaspe region in 2019.

The census was available online and in hard copy to people across the region. It was completed by over 24,500 people throughout region, including by 2,329 people in Mount Alexander Shire. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey.

The findings provide evidence at a local level, and enable reliable comparisons with other data, as well as across townships and demographic groups such as age and gender.

Further, the findings provide valuable information on what would help people meet national guidelines for healthy eating and active living, and help support efforts to reduce rates of obesity, chronic disease and high-risk health behaviours by encouraging more people to be more active, more often.

Key statistics for the Mount Alexander Shire:

• Residents have high levels of life satisfaction (76.5%), with more than four out of five respondents rating their health as good to excellent.
• Two in every three adults in the Mount Alexander Shire are overweight or obese (56.1%). This is higher than the Victorian average of 49.7%.
• One in 13 households (7.7%) in the Mount Alexander Shire are food insecure – they do not have enough to eat. In some areas, this increases to one in 7 households. This is higher than the Victorian average of 6.2%.
• 10.5% of adults are daily consumers of sugary drinks. This is lower than the Victorian average of 11.2%.
• One in every two adults (54%) meet the daily fruit consumption guidelines. This is better than the Victorian average of 42.9%.
• One in every six adults meet the daily vegetable consumption guidelines (16.4%) as compared to the Victorian average of 4.9%.
• 9.0% of adults are current smokers with higher rates among males than females. This is a lower than the Victorian smoking rates (16.7%).
• 61.5% of residents (including children 3+) meet the physical activity guidelines. People in the Mount Alexander Shire want to be more active more often, with 55.3% wanting to do more activity.
• Walking is the most popular type of physical activity, followed by swimming, bushwalking/ hiking, and cycling.
• Castlemaine Botanical Gardens was the most popular recreation facility across Mount Alexander Shire, followed by Castlemaine War Memorial Stadium. Gurri Wanyarra was rated as the most popular and best quality facility across the Loddon Campaspe region.
• Food insecurity and household self-rated prosperity appear to be key predictors for a cluster of health behaviours and outcomes, with food insecure and low income households reporting lower levels of health and wellbeing overall, higher rates of overweight and obesity, higher rates of health-risk behaviours (i.e. smoking, alcohol, sugary drinks) and lower rates of health-protecting behaviours (i.e. physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption).

The reports for Mount Alexander Shire and the Loddon Campaspe region are now available.

We encourage all residents, organisations and interested community groups to download the reports. They are available for anyone to access and can be used in a variety of ways such as to support grant applications and funding submissions, or to gain a greater understanding of local health and wellbeing behaviours.

Key documents
Mount Alexander Shire selected findings report (pdf, 3.5MB)
Mount Alexander Shire topline report (pdf, 9MB)
Loddon Campaspe region reports

Infrastructure and activation that gets more people, more active, more often

Improvements to infrastructure, facilities and/or programs across the region to enable more community members to increase their activity levels.

The Healthy Heart of Victoria infrastructure and activation projects in Mount Alexander Shire include walking and cycling trail linkages in Castlemaine, a pedestrian crossing on Forest Street near Camp Reserve in Castlemaine as well as the installation of seating, drinking fountains and wayfinding signs. A pedestrian crossing, accessible ramp and footpath at Hargraves Street which will link to the upgraded Forest Creek trail, Western Reserve and through to Campbells Creek and Barkers Creek trails.

To support people walking, riding and scootering in the shire we are installing hoops for bike storage, bike maintenance and repair stations for bikes some water fountains and an e-bike/ scooter charge point in a central location to Castlemaine CBD.

Health Broker workforce

A workforce of ‘Health Brokers’ has been appointed to work across the six Loddon Campaspe Councils.
Our Health Broker is Simone Hooppell. Simone’s role as part of Healthy Heart of Victoria is to develop relationships between Council, local organisations and community groups to help build knowledge and influence decision making with respect to health and wellbeing. Get in touch with Simone Hooppell.

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