Katanning and surrounding regions rate as the most unfit in WA, according to a national health study which focused on the hours of exercise each day.
Parts of the Great Southern have been revealed as the least fit in WA, a study has revealed.
Kojonup and Gnowangerup topped the scale on the Australia’s Health Tracker, which records the number of hours of exercise communities complete each week.
The Kojonup-Gnownagerup region recorded 79 per cent of people in the towns did no or little exercise in the survey week, the highest inactivity rate in WA.
Katanning fared only slightly better (73.5 per cent) while Albany (65.8) and Narrogin (66.2) fell under the regional WA average of 66.9 per cent.
A divide between city and country emerged in the survey results.
In WA overall, 62.8 per cent of people reported having done no or little exercise during the past week, comparing favourably with 66.3 per cent nationwide.
Professor Rosemary Calder, director of the Australian Health Policy Collaboration, which has developed the data, said it was “stark” in showing how our environment influenced health and wellbeing, particularly when it came to physical activity.
“This isn’t about individual choice,” she said.
“Your environment either enables your choices or inhibits your choices.”
The researchers analysed data from the latest National Health Survey, including 2450 people from WA.
They used national standard guidelines that moderate exercise is deemed to be three hours of walking for exercise a week.
The figure fell to 61.9 per cent in Perth but increased to 66.9 per cent in the rest of WA.
Professor Calder said even in areas with the highest physical activity, such as Cottesloe, only half of people were doing the recommended amount of physical activity.
“When half of Australia with resources is not physically active sufficiently for health, and has children in its community who are overweight or obese, for a country like ours, that’s a national disgrace,” she said.
Suburbs with high physical activity levels tended to be leafy areas with community resources that made the environment more attractive for activity, while areas with lower rates had fewer resources, she said.
The AHPC is calling for a national strategy to get children to walk or ride to school, rather than being driven.