Kempsey has recently been rated at the top of a list for very alarming reasons; the rate of inactivity, obesity and smoking are all higher than the national average.
According to statistics released by the Heart Foundation, Kempsey's rate of physical inactivity is calculated at 73 per cent of the population, while the national average is 66 per cent. The number of locals who smoke is listed as 26 per cent, and the national average is 16. Kempsey is also leading the way in obesity, with 39 per cent of the population classed as obese, compared to the national average of 28.
To combat this worrying trend, the Heart Foundation is encouraging people to improve their heart health by signing up for its MyMarathon challenge.
Running throughout October, the MyMarathon challenge allows participants to conquer a marathon, at their own pace wherever they are in the world, while also raising money to tackle heart disease. Would-be participants have the rest of the month to run, jog, walk, cycle or wheel 42.2 kilometres, the distance of a marathon.
If you started the on October 1, that would be 1.4 kilometres a day. However, if you start today, (October 11), it will be about 2 km a day, tough, but not impossible to achieve. Even if you decide to aim for half of that, 21.1 over the next 21 days of October, it would only be 1 kilometre a day.
MyMarathon is open to everyone, location, fitness level and age are no barrier; thousands have already registered from every state and territory across Australia, including regional and remote areas. Australians stationed in Antarctica participated last year, so if they can do it in one of the most isolated places on the planet, there is no excuse or everyone else.
Heart Foundation director of Active Living, Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton, is confident that people don't need to be an elite athlete to complete MyMarathon.
"Just about anyone can get involved, no matter what your age, location, background or fitness level. You decide the pace, and you decide the place," he said.
"In addition to ticking 'do a marathon' off your bucket list, your heart will thank you for taking part. Regular physical activity helps to keep your heart strong and healthy, while also contributing to your broader physical and mental health."
MyMarathon participants are encouraged to ask family, friends and colleagues to sponsor their efforts and raise money to tackle heart disease.
For more information, including helpful resources, how to register, participate and fundraise, head over to the MyMarathon website: www.mymarathon.com.au.
Stay ahead with local news by signing up for the Macleay Argus newsletter here.