Charter outlines plan for future

BENDIGO health and government organisations are banding together to tackle concerning health statistics in the region. 

The first Greater Bendigo Wellbeing Charter, released on Wednesday, will cement the region's intention that health is a top priority in the region. 

With the highest obesity rate in Australia and several other "concerning, high rates" of smoking and diabetes in the region, Bendigo organisations have joined together to turn the statistics around. 

The Charter outlines a partnership between the City of Greater Bendigo and local health organisations. 

Mayor Barry Lyons said rather than just treating the symptoms, the Charter would help address the cause of poor health and ensure preventative policies were adopted. 

Bendigo Health executive director of community and continuing health Liz Hamilton said there were many health needs to be addressed in the region.

"There are concerning statistics and we can achieve so much more in improving health if we work together," she said. "It is unfortunate we have such high rates of obesity, smoking and diabetes in the region and our record isn't very good compared to other regions' health."

Ms Hamilton said while organisations would do what they could, it was important to focus on individual choice. 

"We will provide links to general practitioners and specialised services but ultimately people need to take control of their health," she said. 

The Charter was developed by the Health Planning Alignment Group, which includes the City of Greater Bendigo, Bendigo Community Health Services, Healthcote Health, Women's Health Loddon Mallee, Bendigo Health, Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative and Bendigo Loddon Primary Care Partnership. 

Parliamentary Secretary for Health Georgie Crozier attended the signing, saying the Charter would bring residents confidence in the region's commitment to health. 

It forms part of the Greater Bendigo Municipal Health and Wellbeing Plan.

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