ENTERTAINMENT

Arnold Schwarzenegger Tells Australia To 'Get Off The Couch' To Fight Childhood Obesity

The US superstar is headed down under, again.

04/12/2016 10:53 AM AEDT | Updated 04/12/2016 10:28 PM AEDT
Bobby Yip / Reuters
Actor and former professional bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger is bringing his multi-sports festival to Melbourne.

Hollywood superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger wants Australia to get serious about tackling childhood obesity and he's bringing his tough message down under in 2017.

The bodybuilding legend and iconic actor issued the no-nonsense message ahead of his Australia visit in March next year for the Arnold Classic -- the world's biggest multi-sports festival.

"Don't be a couch potato! Get busy, start moving, it will change your life. I want to encourage kids to participate in activities that might lead to them taking up sport and terminate obesity in children," said Schwarzenegger, announcing his Australian visit in a Max Markson statement on Sunday.

"My fitness crusade is to encourage people of all ages to get off the couch and start exercising. It is so important for our youth to experience the benefits of regular exercise and playing sport."

The Arnold Classic in Melbourne will also include the Arnold Kids Expo that's aimed at showcasing sports like tennis, fencing, futsal and martial arts.

The whole extravaganza being spruiked by colourful celebrity agent Markson.

The 2017 Arnold Classic will be Schwarzenegger's fourth trip to Australia since 2013. But he's been a long time fan of Australia, with celebrity visits dating all the way back to 1974.

The health and fitness message is a timely call to action from the big American, with recent research suggesting that Australia's obesity epidemic could impact 35 percent of the population, up from around 28 percent today, within a decade.

The dramatic prediction, published in the International Journal of Obesity, also predicts a lift in severe obesity and forecasts that women will fare worse than men.

The announcement of the former California governor's trip comes after fellow aging action star Jean Claude Van Damme this week wowed fans, and politicians, across Australia

The "Muscles for Brussels" gained a fair bit of media traction when he stopped by federal parliament in Canberra, posing for photos with a number of MPs.

The Bloodsport star's high-profile appearance was about raising the profile of animal conservation and also involved talks with the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

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