Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
4835.0.55.001 - Physical Activity in Australia: A Snapshot, 2007-08  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/09/2011   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

EMPLOYMENT CHARACTERISTICS

LABOUR FORCE STATUS

Adults aged 18-64 years who were employed were less likely to be sedentary or exercise at low levels (70%) than those who were not in the labour force (76%) (Graph 3.5). They were also less likely to do no exercise in the last week (36%) than those who were not in the labour force (43%). However, around half (52%) of people who were not in the labour force reported having a disability or long-term restrictive condition, which may have an impact on their physical activity levels.

3.5 Proportion of people who were sedentary or exercised at low levels(a), by Labour force status(b)
Garph-3.5 Proportion of people who were sedentary or exercised at low levels, by labour force status
(a) Level of exercise undertaken for fitness, recreation or sport in last week.
(b) Persons aged 18-64 years.

Source: National Health Survey, 2007-08


HOURS WORKED

The amount of time people spend working may affect the time they are able or willing to spend on exercise. This was evident for men, with a higher proportion of men who worked 49 hours or more being sedentary or exercising at low levels (69%), compared with 61% of those who worked 1-15 hours per week.

Women often reduce their working hours once they have children to balance work and family commitments. Those who worked between 16-34 hours per week were more likely to be sedentary or exercise at low levels than women who worked between 1-15 hours and those who worked 40 hours or more (Graph 3.6). This may be because they have more difficulty finding time between work and caring for their children to exercise than women who work less.

3.6 Proportion of people who were sedentary or exercised at low levels(a) by hours usually worked(b)

Graph-3.6 Proportion of people who were sedentary or exercised at low levels, by hours usually worked

(a) Level of exercise undertaken for fitness, recreation or sport in last week.
(b) Hours usually worked each week.

Source: National Health Survey, 2007-08


Machinery operators, drivers, and labourers were more likely to not exercise for fitness, recreation or sport (both 48%) than people who worked in most other occupations. For labourers, this may be due to the amount of time they already spend doing physically demanding work, while machinery operators and drivers may spend long hours at work sitting, with little opportunity for exercise.


PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AT WORK

Depending on their occupation, employed people may have very different levels of physical activity at work. Almost half (45%) of people worked in a sedentary type of job where they spent most of their time sitting, while 22% mostly stood, 19% mostly walked and 13% mostly undertook heavy labour or physically demanding work. Men were more than three times as likely as women to report mostly heavy labour or physically demanding work (20% compared with 6%). However, women were more likely than men to report mostly sitting (48% compared with 42%), standing (24% compared with 20%) or walking (21% compared with 17%) at work. People who worked as clerical and administrative workers were the most likely to spend the majority of their time at work sitting (84%), while those who worked as labourers were the least likely (6%) (Graph 3.7).

3.7 Proportion of people who mostly sat at work(a), by Occupation(b)
Graph-3.7 Proportion of people who mostly sat at work, by occupation
(a) Usual physical activity at work during a typical work day.
(b) Persons aged 18-64 years.

Source: National Health Survey, 2007-08


People who spend many hours sitting increase their risk of health problems such as weight gain, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity [17]. Full-time employees who worked 35 hours or more per week were more likely to report spending most of the time at work sitting than those who worked less than 35 hours per week (48% compared with 37%). Women were more likely to spend 4 hours or more per day sitting at work (57%) than men (47%).

Rates of overweight and obesity were higher for men aged 18-64 who were employed full-time and sat for 4 hours or more per day at work (73%) than those who sat for less than 4 hours (66%). There were no significant differences in the rates of overweight and obesity for women based on their sitting time at work.

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.