Health Research program creates step change in public health

Research program creates step change in public health

You probably know someone who’s always taking a stroll to get their steps up – but did you know CQUniversity developed the 10,000 Steps Challenge in 2001?

It’s now one of Australia’s most successful public health promotions ever.

Researchers wanted to see how self-monitoring devices and smartphone technology could be used to improve health.

The idea was to encourage “incidental movement” in daily life, setting a goal of 10,000 steps per day, but CQUniversity’s Professor Corneel Vandelanotte says the take-up rate exceeded expectations.

“Through 10,000 Steps we have achieved huge impacts upon societal health and wellbeing with close to 400,000 people and more than 13,500 organisations having participated in the project, logging an average of 39 million steps per day, resulting in increased physical activity,” Professor Vandelanotte says.

Recently assessed by the Australian Research Council as a “high impact” initiative, 10,000 steps has earned international recognition as a model public health program.

Participants have now clocked up more than 200 billion steps – enough to walk around the world 4,000 times.

But Professor Vandelanotte says there is still more to do.

“About half of the Queensland population is not active enough to achieve health benefits and physical inactivity accounts for five per cent of the burden of disease.

“Increasing physical activity is therefore an important public health objective as it reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, some cancers and mental ill-health.”

Survey evidence suggests around 70 per cent of Australians are aware of 10,000 Steps, compared to less than 10 per cent for most other public health programs.

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