To see a Melbourne where health is incorporated into decisions at all levels of policy-making due to a broad awareness of the link between our cities, social policy and our health.
We are an independent, nonpartisan and evidence-based movement, guided and led by young people seeking to create healthier cities through policy change and community activation.
We're an interdisciplinary group of young people from around Melbourne dedicated to engaging young people in improving the health of our city. If you're keen to join us, express your interest by heading to 'Volunteer' in the tabs above.
Why take action?
By the year 2050, 8 million people could be living in Melbourne. While the city’s geographical sprawl will likely expand, there will remain a large concentration of people – millions of people – within the space of the city’s CBD and inner suburbs.
Decisions made today will dictate how these 8 million people will live their lives.
One possible scenario looms large if we do not prepare for our future. Picture a brown smog enveloping our city. A haze covering our natural spaces, from the Botanical to Edinburgh Gardens. Cars lined up one after another during peak hour, painfully inching forward every few minutes. Crowded, constantly. Noisy, constantly.
Parks and recreational spaces are forgotten by developers and the public alike in the face of commercial and residential growth. People go back and forth from work in their private motor vehicles, with little communication. Travelling from Footscray to the CBD takes 60 minutes. Crime and road trauma become a permanent fixture in daily life.
Sounds rather dystopian.
Perhaps it is, but it is also not all that unusual. There are many cities around the developing world where rapid population expansion has brought about such problems. And evidence suggests the healthcare consequences of cities that promote air pollution, crime and noise instead of physical activity, healthy nutritional choices and connectedness can be significant.
Just as 19th century societies integrated sanitation systems into city planning to curb the burden of communicable diseases, 21st century societies have an opportunity to target the growing problems of non-communicable diseases.
Simply achieving 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week has been shown to reduce all-cause mortality. For many, that level of exercise could easily be achieved to and from work, if the opportunity was available.
Surveys have suggested over half of respondents in the United States would consider cycling in their commute but are uncomfortable. They are uncomfortable because they are not sure how to negotiate the high volume and speeds of vehicles around them. Urban planners and governments currently have the ability to mitigate this fear. They have the ability to design streets and housing in such a way that separates active transport from vehicular congestion, and moreover encourages active transport as a safe and convenient means of travel.
The economic case is simple. The consequences of physical inactivity, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and mental illness, are worth preventing not only for moral reasons but to prevent cost to society through medical expenses and lost productivity.
It is easy to suggest, but yet we are far from living in a city that epitomises these goals. For example, the City of Stonnington has conducted research showing approximately 42% of its population is overweight or obese. In the City of Port Phillip, 30.6% of people are reported to sit for >8 hours per day on an average weekday. In the City of Yarra, 51.8% of the adult population do not meet physical activity guidelines (150 or more minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity over a week).
That’s where Action for Health comes in.
We're a youth-led movement encouraging participation in our democracy through local and state government, in order to ensure health is considered in all government policy. We aim to be driven by evidence and by the voice of the local community to pursue policies that create a healthier Melbourne for the 8 million people that will soon inhabit it.