What is our purpose?

This Alliance has been formed to connect people, professionals and programs. Our immediate priority is to enable more people, who are at risk of developing or who are living with a chronic condition, to access appropriate, evidence-based physical activity and lifestyle modification programs that meet their specific needs and help them to improve their health and wellbeing.

Why are we doing this?

There are a multitude of evidence-based physical activity and lifestyle modification programs that can be tailored to meet a person’s particular needs in Australia whether they are at risk or already living with a chronic disease. What is lacking is a clear systematic approach to the delivery and referral pathways of such programs, particularly when managing co-morbid conditions, and the financial support and backing to ensure these evidence based programs are economically accessible for participants across the country.

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide1, accounting for about 6.6% of disease burden in Australia.2 57% of Australian adults do not undertake sufficient physical activity to obtain a health benefit.3 The economic cost of physical inactivity is estimated to be $13.8 billion and the majority of this cost is attributed to the loss of productivity in the workforce.4

Physical activity is a protective factor for numerous chronic conditions including dementia, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes. It is an important part of managing chronic diseases such as COPD & other chronic respiratory diseases, chronic heart failure, chronic kidney disease and arthritis. Keeping active also promotes good mental and brain health, and can help to prevent or manage mild to moderate depression and anxiety, a common co morbidity in people with a chronic condition.

The economic cost of some of these conditions are set out below:

$4.9 billion

Total direct health and aged care system expenditure on people with dementia was at least $4.9b in 2009-10 with around $2.0 billion directly attributable to dementia.5

$33.6 billion

 Cost of osteoporosis, osteopenia and fractures for Governments over the next eight years. There are 2765 fractures per week in Australia, leading to poor quality of life and sometimes death.6

$4.3 billion

Arthritis costs the health system well over $4.3 billion a year.  With additional costs of $1.3 billion in Disability Support Pension payments and $9.4 billion in lost GDP each year.

$4.5 billion

The total health system expenditure on cancer increased by 56% from $2,894 million to $4,526 million, 2000-01 to 2008-09.

$12.3 billion

Direct health care cost of treating current and new cases of End Stage Kidney Disease, 2009 to 2020 is between $11.3 billion and $12.3 billion which doesn’t factor in lost productivity, carer costs and secondary expenses.

$7.7 billion

Between 2000-01 and 2008-09, health-care expenditure allocated to Cardiovascular Disease increased by 48% from $5,207 million to $7,717 million, representing 12% of the total expenditure budget.

$98.2 billion

Estimated total economic impact of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (2008) of which $8.8 billion was attributed to financial costs and $89.4 billion to the loss of wellbeing.7

$5 billion

The total financial costs of stroke were estimated to be $5 billion, 2012. This included productivity costs of $3 billion and health costs of $881 million8.

What are we asking for?

With a range of existing evidence-based lifestyle modification programs that have proven effective in the prevention and management of chronic health conditions already developed, as an Alliance we are seeking support to develop a process which will allow increased accessibility for the Australian population into these programs, whilst ensuring financial sustainability for long term community based delivery.

The Alliance is seeking support to improve the accessibility and sustainability of existing evidence-based programs through clearly defined referral pathways and economic subsidies. This includes access to prevent chronic disease and manage existing disease effectively across all care settings (including rehabilitation and community based exercise settings). The facilitation of financial incentives for providers to deliver these programs will have clear benefit in attracting and retaining users within the target demographic.

The Alliance believes that by working together with government this can and should be achieved.


1. Kohl W, et al. The pandemic of physical inactivity: global action for public health, The Lancet 2012 Vol 380, No. 9838, pp 294-305.

2. Begg S, et al. 2007, The Burden of Disease and Injury in Australia 2003, AIHW cat. no. PHE 82. Canberra: AIHW.

3. AIHW Report on the Risk factors contributing to chronic disease 2012.

4. Medibank Private Limited, The cost of physical inactivity. October 2008.

5. AIHW. Dementia in Australia. 2012.

6. Watts S, et al. 2013, Osteoporosis Costing All Australians – a new burden of disease analysis 2012-2022

7. Access Economics, Economic impact of COPD and cost effective solutions. 2008