Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

Active living champion Jim Sallis receives Fries prize

Obesity warrior Jim Sallis has been presented with the prestigious 2018 Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award in the US.

Professor Sallis, an ACU professorial fellow, received the prize for his pioneering research in active living and decades of advocacy to get more people moving.

A world leader in the study of built environment and physical activity, Professor Sallis has led research on community walkability, design of parks, and facilities for safe cycling both here and overseas.

His work has influenced city planning and transport policies to deliver improvements in health and accessible, safer physical activity options.

Physical inactivity is a significant risk factor for chronic diseases such as cancer, mental health and cardiovascular disease. About 11 million Australians have a chronic disease – the leading cause of illness, disability and premature death.

In Australia, the majority of adults do not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes per week.

Professor Sallis said sedentary lifestyles had put many adults at risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, numerous cancers, osteoporosis and psychological disorders.

“Physical activity can help manage all phases of chronic disease,” he said.

“However, sprawling cities often force residents to drive frequently and, offer fewer opportunities than compact urban areas for walking or biking.”

Professor Sallis, the author of more than 700 scientific publications, is also an emeritus professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California.

His research has focused on providing evidence to guide policy and environmental strategies to improve physical activity, sedentary behavior, nutrition, and obesity, with an emphasis on getting more youth moving.

The Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award is presented annually to a health educator who has made a substantial contribution to advancing the field of health education or health promotion through research, program development or program delivery.

He was presented with the award at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Society for Public Health Education in Columbus, Ohio.

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