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4156.0.55.001 - Perspectives on Sport, Nov 2011  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/11/2011   
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WHO DOESN'T PARTICIPATE IN SPORT OR PHYSICAL RECREATION?


INTRODUCTION

Children and adults who don't participate in sport or physical recreation have been of growing concern in recent times. The Australian Medical Association has recently stated that obesity is now an epidemic in Australia (End Note 1). The OECD found that the obesity rate in Australia is high compared with most countries and is projected to rise by a further 15% over the next 10 years (End Note 2). The Better Health Initiative by the Victorian Government acknowledges that inactivity, or a sedentary lifestyle, is one of the main causes of Australians gaining weight (End Note 3), making inactivity a primary area of interest.

In the following article, non-participants include adults and children who had no involvement in sport or physical recreation in either a playing or non-playing role (such as a volunteer) within the survey period, 2009-10.

According to the ABS 2009-10 Survey of Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation (cat. no. 4177.0), adults (15 years of age or over) who had not participated in sport or physical recreation were likely to have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Female
  • Aged 65+ years
  • Born in a non main English-speaking country
  • Lived in South Australia
  • Lived regionally (outside Australian capital cities)
  • Not in the labour force.

Since the previous survey conducted in 2005-06, the following changes were observed:
  • The non-participation rates of men and women aged 25 to 34 years old have increased
  • The non-participation rate of men aged 15 to 17 years old has decreased
  • The percentage of women in one parent families who had not participated in sport or physical recreation has increased
  • Lone persons had the highest non-participation rate in sport and physical recreation in 2005-06, while in 2009-10 people from one parent households with dependent children had the highest non-participation rate
  • The non-participation rate for men who had completed Year 11 as their highest level of educational attainment has decreased.


ADULTS

Age

Women were less likely to participate in sport and physical recreation than men in all age groups. An exception was found in the 55 to 64 year age group, where men had a significantly higher non-participation rate (38%) than women (33%). The non-participation rate in sport and physical recreation was significantly higher in women aged 15 to 17 years (26%) than men of the same age (13%).

ADULT NON-PARTICIPANTS, Sport and physical recreation - By age and sex - 2009-10
Graph: ADULT NON-PARTICIPANTS, Sport and physical reacreation,—By age and sex—2009-10



State or Territory of Usual Residence

The highest non-participation rate in sport and physical recreation for women was in South Australia (37%). Men who lived in the Australian Capital Territory had a lower non-participation rate (19%) than men who lived in the other states.

ADULT NON-PARTICIPANTS, Sport and physical recreation - By state and sex - 2009-10
Graph: ADULT NON-PARTICIPANTS, Sport and physical recreation—By state and sex—2009-10



Country of Birth

People who were born in overseas countries had a higher non-participation rate in sport and physical recreation (40%) than people who were born in Australia (30%).

While differences in rates of non-participation between males and females for those born overseas were not significant at a national level, there were significant differences at a state level. Women had higher non-participation rates in sport and physical recreation than men in both New South Wales (44% compared with 36%) and Victoria (47% compared with 39%).

Comparing men and women who were born in non main English-speaking countries, the non-participation rate for women was significantly higher than for men in New South Wales (52% compared with 39%).

ADULT NON-PARTICIPANTS, Sport and physical recreation - By country of birth by sex - 2009-10
Graph: ADULT NON-PARTICIPANTS, Sport and physical recreation—By country of birth by sex—2009-10



Labour Force

People who were not in the labour force had a significantly higher non-participation rate in sport and physical recreation (44%) than people who were employed (27%) or unemployed (31%). When comparing men and women who were not in the labour force, women had a higher non-participation rate than men (46% and 42% respectively).

ADULT NON-PARTICIPANTS, Sports and physical recreation - By employment status and sex - 2009-10
Graph: ADULT NON-PARTICIPANTS, Sports and physical recreation—By employment status and sex—2009-10



CHILDREN

The number of Australian children who are overweight or obese has risen in recent years. The ABS 2007-2008 National Health Survey (cat. no. 4364.0) found that the total proportion of overweight and obese children in Australia aged 5 to 17 years in 1995 was 21% and by 2007-2008 this figure had increased to 25%. Studies have shown that once children become obese they are more likely to stay obese into adulthood and have an increased risk of developing diseases associated with obesity (End Note 4). The absence of adequate physical activity for children is of concern.

According to the ABS 2009 Survey of Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities (cat. no. 4901.0), children aged between 5 and 14 years who had not participated in organised sport outside of school hours were likely to have one or more of the following characteristics:
  • Female
  • Aged 5 to 8 years
  • Lived in Tasmania
  • Lived in Australian capital cities
  • From a one parent family where the single parent of the child was not employed
  • Born in non main English-speaking country.

Since the previous survey conducted in 2006, the following changes were found:
  • Girls in New South Wales have become less active, as their non-participation rate increased significantly from 42% in 2006 to 50% in 2009
  • Conversely, girls living in Victoria have become more active, with their non-participation rate having decreased from 44% in 2006 to 36% in 2009
  • The non-participation rate in sport increased from 66% to 75% among girls who lived in single parent families, where the parent was not employed
  • Children living in a couple family where both parents were not employed had a higher non-participation rate in 2006, compared with children from a one parent family where the single parent was not employed in 2009.


Age

Overall, girls were less likely to participate in organised sport than boys in all age groups. Generally, children aged 5 to 8 years had higher non-participation rates (42%) than children aged 9 to 11 years (32%) and 12 to 14 years (35%). Girls aged 9 to 11 years were more likely to participate in organised sport with a non-participation rate of 35%, than girls who were aged 5 to 8 years and 12 to 14 years (49% and 45% respectively). Boys aged 5 to 8 years were less likely to participate than boys in other age groups, with a non-participation rate of 36%.

CHILD NON-PARTICIPANTS, Organised sport - By sex and age - 2009
Graph: CHILD NON-PARTICIPANTS, Organised sport—By sex and age—2009



State or Territory of Usual Residence

Girls had higher non-participation rates in organised sport than boys in all states, however, this difference was negligible in South Australia, Tasmania and the Australia Capital Territory. Boys who lived in Tasmania had significantly higher non-participation in organised sport (40%) compared with boys living in Victoria (28%) and New South Wales (30%).

CHILD NON-PARTICIPANTS, Organised sport - By state and sex - 2009
Graph: CHILD NON-PARTICIPANTS, Organised sport—By state and sex—2009



Country of Birth

Children who were born in non main English-speaking countries had a significantly higher non-participation rate in organised sport (60%) than children who were born in Australia (36%). For girls who were born overseas, their non-participation rate was (61%) compared with girls who were born in Australia (42%).

CHILD NON-PARTICIPANTS, Organised sport - by country of birth and sex - 2009
Graph: CHILD NON-PARTICIPANTS, Organised sport—by country of birth and sex—2009



Family Type

Both boys and girls who were part of a one-parent family were less likely to participate in organised sport (40% and 56% respectively) than those who lived in couple families (28% and 40% respectively).

CHILD NON-PARTICIPANTS, Organised sport - By family type and sex - 2009
Graph: CHILD NON-PARTICIPANTS, Organised sport—By family type and sex—2009



Parent Employment Status

Parental employment status did not seem to affect the fact that girls had a significantly higher non-participation rate than boys (44% and 30% respectively).

CHILD NON-PARTICIPANTS, Organised sport - By parents employment status and sex - 2009
Graph: CHILD NON-PARTICIPANTS, Organised sport—By parents employment status and sex—2009



END NOTES

1. Australian Medical Association, 'Obesity epidemic for Australians', viewed 7/10/2011

<http://ama.com.au/node/1181>.

2. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 2010. 'Obesity and the Economics of Prevention: Fit not Fat - Australia Key Facts'. viewed 10/10/11

<http://www.oecd.org/document/1/0,3746,en_2649_33929_46038593_1_1_1_1,00.html>.

3. Victorian Government and Deakin University. 'Obesity' . Better Health Channel. viewed 28/9/11

<http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Obesity>.

4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2004. 'Risk Factor Monitoring, A Rising Epidemic: Obesity in Australian Children and Adolescents'. viewed 6/10/11 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=6442471181>.


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