Healthy Heart of Victoria

Healthy Heart of Victoria aims to improve health outcomes for the community living in Central Victoria.

The initiative is a joint initiative of the Loddon-Campaspe Regional Partnership and involves the shires of Macedon Ranges, Greater Bendigo, Loddon, Mount Alexander, Central Goldfields and Campaspe.

There is a clear need to find local and regional solutions that increase healthy eating and physical activity. According to the 2014 Victorian Population Health Survey, in the Macedon Ranges:

  • 10% of adults meet vegetable consumption guidelines
  • 37% of adults meet fruit consumption guidelines
  • 40% of adults meet physical activity guidelines.

To address these challenges, over 130 stakeholders from local government, health services, primary care partnerships, universities, the regional partnership, and state government departments and agencies took part in design workshops in August and September 2016. This led to the development of the Healthy Heart of Victoria implementation framework(PDF, 11MB).

It involves three main components.

  1. The Active Living Census
  2. Infrastructure, facilities or programs that get more people, more active, more often
  3. The Health Broker workforce

Overall, the initiative reflects the principle that health is the business of everyone, not just health services and health professionals.

The Healthy Heart of Victoria initiative is supported by the Victorian Government. The project has been funded until June 2020.

The Active Living Census provides valuable new information about the health and wellbeing of community members in the Macedon Ranges. The newly released report will help us to target our programs and infrastructure to support people of all ages and abilities to be more active, healthy and happy.

The 2019 ALC was based on a similar census conducted by the City of Greater Bendigo in 2014. The paper survey was distributed to all households by post, however residents were encouraged to complete the survey online if possible. The survey was open from 16 May to 23 June 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 3,691 people in Macedon Ranges Shire. 

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.

What are the main findings?

Key findings on active living and recreation in Macedon Ranges Shire:

  • Walking was the most popular form of recreational activity (21 per cent), followed by swimming (9 per cent), bushwalking/hiking (7 per cent), indoor fitness (7 per cent) and active play (6 per cent).

  • Most residents use our public facilities and spaces. Two thirds of people (66 per cent) used footpaths weekly or more often, compared to 61 per cent for public open spaces and 32 per cent for walking and bike trails.

  • Over half (53 per cent) of all residents want to be more active. The most common explanations of why people were not as active as they would like were being too busy (56 per cent), personal reasons such as not feeling motivated or feeling embarrassed (26 per cent) and cost (22 per cent).

Other health and wellbeing indicators for Macedon Ranges Shire:

  • Almost two thirds of residents (61 per cent) are overweight or obese. Overweight and obesity is higher among males (67 per cent) than females (55 per cent).

  • About one in every six people (16 per cent) rate their health as fair or poor. Similarly, about one in every six people (17 per cent) do not feel valued by society. These are important indicators of wellbeing.

  • Only 14 per cent of adults meet guidelines for vegetable consumption, 51 per cent meet guidelines for fruit consumption, and 62 per cent met guidelines for physical activity.

  • One in 15 households (6.4 per cent) are considered to be food insecure, as they have run out of food in the last year and could not afford to buy more. Food insecurity in our shire is highest in Romsey (13 per cent).

  • Almost three in every five people (58 per cent) had consumed more than four alcoholic drinks in one sitting in the past year, placing them at risk of alcohol-related injury.

Key findings and comparisons for the Loddon Campaspe region:

  • Walking is the most popular type of physical activity, followed by swimming, indoor fitness, active play and cycling.

  • Two in every three adults (63 per cent) in the Loddon Campaspe Region are overweight or obese. This is higher than the Victorian average of 50 per cent.

  • One in every eight adults (13 per cent) meet the daily vegetable consumption guidelines. This is higher than the Victorian average of 5 per cent.

  • Almost one in ten households (9 per cent) in the Loddon Campaspe Region are food insecure – they do not have enough to eat. This is higher than the Victorian average of 6 per cent.

  • People in the Loddon Campaspe region want to be more active more often, with 53 per cent wanting to do more activity.

  • 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).

Where can I find the report?

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.

This video will help you to use and interpret the findings:

You can also access recordings of online seminars on four key topics related to the census in Macedon Ranges Shire Council:

Active Living Census reports for Loddon Campaspe region can be downloaded from Regional Development Victoria

Have you used the findings from the Active Living Census? We want to hear about it! Please answer these three quick questions to help us to understand how the findings are being used. 

If you would like more information or a copy of the full report, call Anna Nicholson – Health Broker on (03) 5422 0333 or email anicholson@mrsc.vic.gov.au

The Healthy Heart of Victoria project will fund updates to existing spaces, facilities and programs that help more Macedon Ranges residents to be active, healthy and well.

This part of the Healthy Heart of Victoria program will target areas where residents are less active. It aims to get more people, more active, more often.

The WalKyneton project will improve the Campaspe River Walk in Kyneton in the early half of 2020.

This project has been made possible thanks to $300,000 in funding from the Healthy Heart of Victoria initiative to improve pathways and facilities that encourage physical activity along the river walk.

As part of the Healthy Heart of Victoria project, Macedon Ranges Shire Council now has a Health Broker, Anna Nicholson. Anna's role is to support local government staff to address health and wellbeing through healthy design and decision-making.

This part of the Healthy Heart of Victoria program aims to address the environments and systems that influence health and wellbeing. This work will also improve the liveability of our neighbourhoods.

The Health Broker team will also strengthen relationships between local councils and community groups, sporting clubs, and health agencies.

Call Anna Nicholson on (03) 5422 0204 or email anicholson@mrsc.vic.gov.au