Medibank announces five-year commitment to get 1.5 million australians active
Medibank has today announced a commitment to combat inactivity and promote community connection with the launch of Free + Active – an ongoing program which aims to make free, social activity accessible to 1.5 million Australians by 2022.
Under the program, Medibank will launch hundreds of free, community-based exercise events and a variety of wellness initiatives nationwide over the next five years, in partnership with organisations which share the Free + Active vision.
The first initiative to be announced under Free + Active will see Medibank fund the opening of 40 new parkrun locations. This move will enable parkrun – which is a free, weekly running and walking event – to extend its national footprint to more than 300 communities by this time next year.
The launch of Free + Active follows new Medibank research, which found over nine million Australians are physically inactive – with 51 per cent having not exercised in the last three months1 – and two in three are affected by social isolation2. And while lower costs and having free programs nearby are both factors which would encourage Australians to stay active, the majority are not aware of any free programs in their area3.
Medibank Chief Executive Officer, Craig Drummond said, “We know staying active offers major preventative health benefits, as well as improving physical and mental wellbeing. Through the launch of our Free + Active program, we aim to help millions of Australians get healthier, happier and feel more connected to the community with free social activities.
“We’re proud to team up with organisations who share our vision, and look forward to announcing more partners and initiatives under the Free + Active umbrella over the coming months.”
The first five of 40 new parkrun events to launch under the Free + Active program have been selected in response to community demand, and will kick off over the next five weeks – starting with Brimbank Park, Victoria, this Saturday 19 August, followed by launches in Newport Lakes (Vic), Wagga Wagga (NSW), Wollongong (NSW) and Redcliffe (QLD).
Tim Oberg, Chief Executive Officer, parkrun said, “More than 300,000 Australians are now part of the parkrun community, and the demand for new events just keeps growing. Parkrun is the perfect example of communities coming together to better their health and wellbeing. Through Medibank’s Free + Active program, we’re thrilled that so many of these in-demand events can now become a reality, and hope to continue to grow and expand with their support over the coming years.”
To register interest for a Free + Active event in your local community, or to suggest a new Free + Active partner, visit Medibank.com.au/FreeAndActive.
parkrun Australia supports local communities across the country to establish and deliver free, timed, 5km events every Saturday morning that are open to walkers and runners of all ages and abilities. The first parkrun in Australia was held at Main Beach, Queensland in April 2011. There are now 231 parkruns across the country, with more than 340,000 different people having taken part. Each parkrun is delivered entirely by volunteers. parkruns are not races and are non-competitive.
1 9,464,000 Australians aged 18+ did not exercise in the last 3 months, Medibank Better Health Index data, March 2017.
2 68% of Australians experience feelings of loneliness/isolation, Medibank commissioned research conducted by ACA Research, 28 October - 3 November 2016.
3 Australians said lower exercise costs (38%) and having free, social exercise programs nearby (52%) would encourage them to exercise more, 65% of Australians were not aware of any free exercise programs in their local community, Medibank commissioned research conducted by ACA Research, 11-17 July 2017.