Our say: bright idea to tackle our obesity crisis

ANY incentive to get people moving can only be a good thing.

The western side of Tamworth was last year handed a pretty damning title: the fattest place in the nation. 

Statistics from the Australian Health Policy Collaboration revealed that eight out of 10 adults were overweight and almost half obese across Westdale, Coledale, Taminda and half of West Tamworth.

But now a Tamworth councillor is spearheading a bright idea that could help curb those alarming statistics. 

Mark Rodda is calling for solar lights to be installed across the city’s popular walking spots, including along the river levee bank, along a Calala path and Scotts Road. 

This bright idea is nothing new.

Other regional towns like Gunnedah and Wagga Wagga have solar lights lighting up some of their popular walkways and footpaths.

While it might be expensive to first get up and running, the operational costs would probably be fairly low in the long run.

Any moves to encourage people and their families to get outside, pump the pavement and raise their heart rate should be considered.

Almost 80 per cent of West Tamworth adults are overweight, while 48 per cent of those are obese, according to those statistics.

To compare us to the rest of the country, we far exceed the national overweight (63.5 per cent) and obesity (27.5 per cent) averages. 

Our civic leaders should be doing all in their power to help encourage residents to improve those statistics. This is a practical and realistic step in the right direction.

If the last few days are anything to go by, it’s often far too hot in Tamworth to exercise in daylight hours. 

Solar lights along various paths will afford us the option to do it at night time – with our friends and family, outside working hours.

But it’s not just about health factors. In years gone by, the levee bank has been host to its fair share of crime. Having the area further lit-up by solar lights will also boost safety concerns of that area.

There’s also the tourist appeal of having a safe and well-lit river walk. 

Projects like this often take time and money. But a community health project that brings plenty of benefits to the city should be made a priority. 

Let’s hope that the three tiers of government – or even the community – can come together to deliver on this bright idea.


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