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Australians join the five million miles global walking initiative

Australians join the five million miles global walking initiative

Bupa and World Heart Federation get the world walking

Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is one of the toughest challenges in healthcare, and a top priority for Bupa and the World Heart Federation who have teamed up to get the world walking with the free Ground Miles walking app.

A large proportion of illness and death from cardiovascular disease could be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes, yet more people die from it globally – 17.3 million in 2008 – than any other causei.

Bupa’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Paul Bates, said walking is one of the easiest and most accessible ways for people to reduce one of the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, physical inactivity.

“Walking is proven to have benefits for a person’s heart health and can be easily incorporated into existing daily routines. Research shows that just 15 minutes a day of brisk walking can add up to three years to life expectancyii” Dr Bates said.

“The new Ground Miles app is a great motivator to get Australians moving, and to connect them with a global initiative to walk five million miles by the end of 2013.” Ground Miles allows users to track distances walked daily, set personal goals, group together with friends, family and colleagues, earn motivational badges and support and connect with friends via social networks.

One of Australia’s most inspirational walkers and Ground Miles ambassador, Deborah de Williams, can vouch for the benefits of walking.

“There’s nothing better than putting on your runners and taking in the fresh air, while you set out to achieve a walking goal,” said Ms de Williams.

Deborah de Williams was the first woman to ever walk continuously around Australia, covering a record breaking 16,925 km in 365 days, and this year marks the 10 year anniversary since she set off on her incredible journey.

“It’s amazing what you can achieve when you commit to something. In my case the goal was pretty extreme, but motivating yourself to do that little bit extra every week will go a long way to improving your long-term health,” Ms de Williams said.

“Walking is now a way of life and an app like Ground Miles would have been invaluable as I travelled around the country!”

For more information and to download the app visit

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Social media:
Twitter: @GroundMilesApp

For further information, please contact:

Matt Allison
Phone: 03 9937 4624 / 0407 440

About Ground Miles
The World Heart Federation and Bupa has formed a global partnership to get the world walking, to help reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease (which includes heart disease and stroke). The result of the partnership is a global walking challenge called Ground Miles and the target is to collectively walk 5 million miles (8 million kilometres).

The World Heart Federation and Bupa is urging people to download, for free, Ground Miles app to spur them on and measure the distance they walk. People who download the app will have the chance to win prizes along the way. To download the app, search for 'Ground Miles' in your Apple or Android app store or for more information, please visit More information on the benefits of walking is also available at (PDF, 2.89Mb)

About Ground Miles
Bupa Australia and New Zealand’s purpose is longer, healthier, happier lives. A leading healthcare group, we provide health insurance and aged care services, as well as complementary healthcare services through Bupa Health Dialog, Bupa Wellness, Bupa Optical and Dental Corporation. Bupa focuses on providing sustainable healthcare solutions that represent real value, and on leading the industry in the promotion of preventive health and wellness. Bupa’s Australian and New Zealand businesses are part of the international Bupa Group, which cares for more than 14 million people in over 190 countries.

iCardiovascular diseases (CVD), (March 2013) World Health Organization,, 15 November 2013

iiWen, C.P. et al, ‘Minimum amount of physical activity for reduced mortality and extended life expectancy: a prospective cohort study’, The Lancet (2011) 378: 9798: 1244-53: