THE Loddon-Mallee-Murray region has the highest obesity rate in Australia.
A report by the National Health Performance Authority reveals a staggering 41 per cent of people living in the region, which includes Bendigo, Echuca and Swan Hill, are classed as obese.
Bendigo Community Health Services General Manager Kaye Graves believes the problem coincides with a reduction in incidental exercise.
“Now we have all the mod cons, we push a button to put the washing on, shut the car, put the air conditioning on, we don’t have the opportunity to exercise.
“Coupled with that we sit a lot more and we lack the skills to grow and cook healthy food. We rely on the convenience of processed food which is high in fat and high in salt.
“Community health is focused on building a partnership through Healthy Together so making the healthy choice becomes the easy choice.
“People need to know about the value of food and help fit physical exercise into the day.”
Healthy Together Victoria is an initiative funded by state and federal governments.
Manager of Active and Healthy Communities Bendigo Patrick Jess agrees obesity is a significant issue but says Bendigo's council is working to tackle the problem.
Report reveals 41 per cent of people in the region are obese
"The City of Greater Bendigo, in partnership with Bendigo Health Services, received funding for Healthy Together Victoria," Mr Jess said.
"We are working in partnership to address the issue of obesity by working with schools and businesses to promote a healthy environment," he said.
“Research suggests obesity is having an impact on our health system and part of the funding is being used to improve people’s health so these issues don’t touch our hospitals in the first place.
“We are aware it is a long-term battle."