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 Active Living Census is one of the biggest surveys ever conducted in the Loddon Campaspe region (10.9% of the population) - 24,549 people took part. Delivered in 2019 for the first time in Macedon Ranges Shire, 3,691 people (8.3% of the population) completed the survey.

What are the main findings?

  • Walking was the most popular form of recreational activity (21%), followed by swimming (9%), bushwalking/hiking (7%), indoor fitness/gym (7%) and active play (6%).
  • Most residents use our public facilities and spaces. Two thirds of people (66 per cent) used footpaths weekly or more often, compared to 61% for public open spaces and 32% for walking and bike trails.
  • Over half (53%) 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%), personal reasons such as not feeling motivated or feeling embarrassed (26%), and cost (22%). Reasons why people are not as active as they would like vary across the community. For example, poor health or disability was the most important barrier to being more active for people aged 70 years and older as well as for people who require assistance with daily activities.

Other health and wellbeing outcomes reported in the Active Living Census:

  • About 1 in 6 people (16%) rated their health as fair or poor.
  • Similarly, about 1 in 6 people said they do not feel valued by society.
  • Almost two thirds of residents (61%) were found to be overweight or obese.
  • Only 14% of adults met guidelines for vegetable consumption, 51% met guidelines for fruit consumption, and 62% per cent met guidelines for physical activity.
  • Almost 3 in 5 (58%) had consumed more than four alcoholic drinks in one sitting in the past year, placing them at risk of alcohol-related injury.

Where can I find the report?

Selected findings will soon be available on this web page.

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