PANDA Trial: Physical Activity in Nature for Cardiometabolic Diseases in People Aged 45y+

What’s the issue?

Cardiometabolic diseases are among the most commonly managed conditions in primary care, affecting around a quarter of Australians 45yr+. Physical activity, including walking, aerobic and resistance training, is key. However, current physical activty prescriptions and programs can be undermined by low uptake and adherence, to a large extent because of they are often viewed as too complex, costly, time consuming and interrupting daily routine.

What do we know?

People are more likely to start and maintain lifestyle change if it aligns with their intrinsic motivations and can be conducted in settings that empower them to adopt the new behaviour. Nature’s green (eg, parks and hills) and blue spaces (eg, lakes, rivers and beaches) offer a largely underutilised, low/no cost opportunity in chronic disease management that can both attend to people’s interests and provide attractive settings for sustained increases in physical activity. The flocking of individuals to green spaces as a means of coping with the seismic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the size of the opportunity that exists.

What is our plan?

Our national survey indicates 72% (about 1 million people) of physically inactive Australians aged 45y+ with cardiometabolic diseases would accept a nature prescription. About half of whom spend less than 2 hours a week in nature, so there is both demonstrated need and demand for this intervention. We will address this by co-designing and evaluating a nature prescription intervention that sustains physical activity and maximises cardiometabolic health in the target population. Co-produced implementation guidelines with consumers and experienced health professionals, with contributions from Canada's national nature prescribing program leader and Australia's leading social prescribing consultants, will prime our findings for rapid translation and impact across Australia within 12 months of completion.

Project Investigators

Participating Institutions & Partner Organisations

University of Wollongong, University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, Western Sydney Local Health District (Western Sydney Diabetes), BC Parks Foundation (PaRx), Primary & Community Care Services, Griffith University, The George Institute for Global Health, Southern Cross University, University of British Columbia.  

Acknowledgement of funding: This project is funded by 2022 NHMRC MRFF Effective Treatments and Therapies