The new continuous 65km track opens up new areas of western Sydney for locals to explore on foot, including protected woodland, local rivers, public parks, heritage sites and iconic urban landscapes.
Developed by community group, The Walking Volunteers, and created in collaboration between landowners, councils and governing bodies, the Great West Walk shows what can be achieved when government and community work together to tackle obesity in western Sydney, said Western Sydney Diabetes director, Professor Glen Maberly.
“We know from routine diabetes testing conducted at Blacktown and Mount Druitt emergency departments, that nearly half of western Sydney is affected by or at risk of type 2 diabetes,” said Prof Maberly.
“Being overweight or obese plays a key role in increasing your chance of getting type 2 diabetes.
“By making walking your regular physical activity, it is possible to lose some excess kilos, prevent diabetes, reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke and improve your blood pressure and cholesterol,” Prof Maberly said.
The Great West Walk is an ideal opportunity for people in western Sydney to start taking steps towards a healthier future, said Centre for Population Health deputy director, Christine Newman.
“We now have in our own backyard, a series of connected walking tracks of various lengths to encourage people of all ages and levels of ability the opportunity to be more active.
“Try some of your local paths on the Great West Walk today,” Christine said.
For more information on the route, visit greatwestwalk.com.au
WSLHD invests approximately $2 million annually on tackling obesity, and $1.5 million for the Western Sydney Diabetes initiative.
In 2018-19, the NSW Ministry of Health will allocate $38 million towards reducing the prevalence of obesity in NSW.
Look who’s walking! The launch of the Great West Walk was attended by community volunteers and government dignitaries including The Hon Rob Stokes, Parramatta Lord Mayor Andrew Wilson, and Mayor of Blacktown City Council Tony Bleasdale OAM.
Photo credits: Photo at top courtesy of the Walking Volunteers. Photo above courtesy of Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils Ltd (WSROC).