Press Releases

"Birdman" soars for healthy living

14 June 2007

Adelaide Crows footballer Brett Burton has today been named an ambassador for a new Healthy Living Program in remote South Australia.

The star forward will combine his leadership and fitness skills to help improve the health of indigenous and non-indigenous in the State’s Far North.

Brett – dubbed the Birdman – will join forces with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Li Ka-shing Foundation to deliver the unprecedented initiative.

Once fully operational, about 1000 people will have individual exercise and nutrition programs developed by the RFDS as part of a 10-year program which begins next month. Many more people will ultimately benefit as families and communities see the gains being made by their friends and family as a result of the lifestyle changes.

The Li Ka-shing Foundation has donated $3 million to the RFDS to promote the benefits of increased physical activity, improved diet and health education.

Brett said he was proud to be involved in a program that will deliver real benefits to remote communities in South Australia.

“Educating people about the benefits of an active lifestyle and a good diet will provide long-term health improvements,” Brett said.

“As an AFL footballer who will this year complete an honours degree in human movement, I have a strong interest in improving people’s health and fitness.

“Sport and exercise can play an important role by raising fitness levels, particularly in indigenous communities.”

Brett will serve on the management committee overseeing the initiative as well as acting as a role model for young people.

Management Committee Chairman Peter Tulloch, who is also Chairman of ETSA Utilities, welcomed Brett’s appointment.

“The committee is looking forward to working with Brett and the contribution he can make to improving the health of remote South Australians,” Mr Tulloch said.

“Brett has demonstrated he is a role model for all South Australians both on and off the football field.”

The Healthy Living Program reflects the increasing role being played by the RFDS in taking new preventative health services to rural and remote communities.

Dr John Setchell, RFDS General Manager, Health Services said: “This is a unique, hands-on program that will involve the RFDS employing two additional health professionals who will devote their resources exclusively to this project of improving people’s health by encouraging lifestyle changes over a sustained period”.

“By addressing a range of issues, improved health outcomes anticipated include reduced complications of diabetes, improved blood pressure control and reduced levels of cardio vascular disease,” Dr Setchell said.

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