Walking was the number one physical activity reported by Macedon residents in the 2019 Active Living Census

A Healthy Heart Victoria study revealed Macedon Ranges residents rated highest in general wellbeing across all shires in the Loddon Campaspe region.

The 2019 Active Living Census was mailed to households across the Loddon Campaspe region, including municipalities of Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Greater Bendigo, Loddon, Macedon Ranges and Mount Alexander.

Close to 25,000 residents completed the census which make up about 10 per cent of the Loddon Campaspe region.

The census aimed to gather data regarding the regions’ perceptions on their health while health professionals also aimed to use the information to make Loddon Campaspe a more safe, inclusive, accessible and active region.

The data also highlights various contributing factors to health including physical activity, smoking, and consumption of fruit, vegetables, alcohol and sugary drinks.

In the Macedon Ranges, including Gisborne, Kyneton, Lancefield, Macedon, Woodend, Riddells Creek and Romsey, 3691 residents completed the survey making up about 8.3 per cent of the population.

Macedon Ranges’ survey results reported the lowest percentage of ‘low life satisfaction’, 5.7 per cent, and ‘not feeling valued’, 16.7 per cent; a total of 22.4 per cent compared the region’s 26 per cent.

Of the Macedon residents who completed the survey, 36.5 per cent were overweight and 24.5 per cent were obese compared to the region’s 35.6 per cent overweight rate and 26.9 per cent obesity.

The report also says 7.8 per cent of Macedon Ranges residents were smokers, compared to 10.6 per cent of the region; the daily intake of sugary drinks was 11.3 per cent, compared to 14.0 per cent in the whole region; residents consumed 4.9 cups per day in line with the region; 13.9 per cent met the guidelines of vegetable consumption, compared to 13.3 per cent; and 50.9 per cent met the fruit consumption guidelines, compared to 48.0 per cent.

Of the whole region, Macedon Ranges reported only 6.4 per cent food insecurity, the lowest in the region, with Central Goldfields returning a percentage of 15.2 per cent.

The study revealed people experiencing food insecurity were more likely to experience poor physical and mental health, be overweight, and have an unhealthy diet.

Macedon Ranges Shire residents recorded 61.1 per cent of adults abiding by the physical activity guidelines, while 52.7 per cent wanted to be more active more often.

The top three most popular physical activities by Macedon residents included walking, 21.1 per cent; swimming, 9.0 per cent; and bushwalking, 6.7 per cent.

Barriers to being more active as reported by residents recorded being time poor, 55.9 per cent, personal reasons, 25.7 per cent, and cost, 22.1 per cent – other reasons included poor health/stability, lack of social support, and safety.

Footpaths and parks recorded the highest percentage of usage, 88.5 per cent and 82.9 per cent respectively, for physical activity – others included off-road walking and cycling tracks, sportsgrounds, ovals and clubrooms.

“We know that many people want to be more active. Now we have a better understanding of what types of facilities and programs will help to get more people more active, more often,” Macedon Ranges Shire Mayor Janet Pearce said.