AUSTRALIA'S LEVEL OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS INCREASING
The National Health Survey (NHS) collects information on levels of physical activity in the Australian population aged 18 years and over. Specifically, it asks questions about physical activity undertaken for exercise or recreation in the past two weeks. To date, this survey has been conducted in 1990, 1995 and 2001.
In a report recently prepared for the Standing Committee on Recreation and Sport, NCCRS analysed the changes over time of physical activity rates recorded in the 1990, 1995 and 2001 surveys. The 'physical activity rate' derived from the NHS is the proportion of the population aged 18 years and over who reported that they had done some physical activity in the past two weeks. NCCRS tested the statistical significance of changes in physical activity rates between each NHS reference period.
Results from the three survey years show that from 1990 to 2001 there had been a significant increase in the physical activity rate for all persons aged 18 years or over, from a rate of 64% in 1990 to 69% in 2001. Physical activity rates increased for both males (from 65% to 69%) and females (from 64% to 68%) in this 11-year period. Analysis was also undertaken for the states and the ACT, and similar increases were found. Data were not available for the Northern Territory.
The next NHS is currently scheduled to be conducted in 2004-05, with results to be available in the following year.
For further information on physical activity contact Colin Speechley on (08) 8237 7363.