The Role of Local Councils in Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
NSW local councils have an important role to play in promoting and supporting healthy and active lifestyles.
Being active and healthy is good for our health and our economy. It has real benefits for both communities and individuals. Healthy communities are more connected, participate more in community activities, are more productive and reduce the environmental impacts of car dependence. Active living and healthy eating also help to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, some cancers, depression and falls.
Local councils can support healthy and active lifestyles in a number of ways including:
- Direct action including the provision of infrastructure and services (perhaps in partnership), eg. road construction, operation of recreation facilities, waste collection services, water supply (in some cases).
- Regulation of private activities e.g. land-use planning, community land activities, food inspections, enforcement powers.
- Persuasion (including incentives), education and advocacy.
Local Government Resources
Integrating healthy eating and active living
Active Living NSW has commenced the process to prepare an action-oriented guide for local governments to integrate healthy eating and active living principles into their corporate and strategic planning. Dr Danny Wiggins has been commissioned to prepare the guide as a tool to assist local governments and other stakeholders plan for healthy built environments.
A project summary is available here.
Watch this space for the forthcoming draft!
The Healthy Planning Expert Working Group have prepared a series of Action Resources to support NSW councils and other interested parties to implement healthy built environments and active living in their communities. These documents outline the case for healthy built environments with the latest research, the NSW policy and legislative context, and provides some implementation tips for NSW councils.
The Action Resources are available for download here.
Using Local Councils' Integrated Planning & Reporting Framework to Promote Healthy and Active Living
The Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) framework recognises that most communities share similar aspirations: a safe, healthy and pleasant place to live, a sustainable environment, opportunities for social interaction, opportunities for employment and reliable infrastructure. It is local councils’ principal planning and reporting tool.
Through the inclusion of active living and healthy eating as goals/objectives in the Community Strategic Plan, strategies and actions can cascade down through the IP&R framework, prompting councils to co-ordinate activities to support healthy and active lifestyles across traditional functional areas.
In 2012, the NSW Premier's Council for Active Living (PCAL) prepared a resource to provide guidance to local councils (and other interested parties) on how they can promote community health and well-being by addressing active living and healthy eating priorities and actions as they implement, monitor and review their Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) frameworks.
This resource is now being managed by Active Living NSW. You can access the resource at:
Local Council Workshops
In 2019, Active Living NSW will be hosting four regional workshops to assist local councils to incorporate active living and healthy eating priorities and actions into their Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) frameworks, particularly the new Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS). These workshops will also bring together representatives from the local health districts, Transport NSW, NSW Ministry of Health and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to encourage collaboration and networking.
The 2018 workshops featured Sydney metro and regional communities, find out more about these workshops here.
You can view information and presentations from the 2016 PCAL workshops here.