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4704.0 - The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Oct 2010  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/02/2011  Final
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MOTHERS' AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH: CHILD EXERCISE
This article is part of a comprehensive series released as The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.


KEY MESSAGES

In 2008, three out of every four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years (74%) were physically active for at least 60 minutes everyday. The proportion was higher for those who lived in remote areas (84% compared with 71% in non-remote areas).

In 2008, just under half of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years (47%) played organised sport.

Two-thirds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5–14 years (66%) spent more than two hours per day watching television, videos or DVDs in 2008. Of these 18% did not meet the guidelines for at least 60 minutes of physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity every day.

Being physically active has many benefits such as reducing the likelihood of being overweight and obese and improving cardiovascular, musculoskeletal health and psychological wellbeing. The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians recommend that children and young people have at least 60 minutes of physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity every day (Endnote 1).

This topic presents results from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) which provides the most recent data on exercise by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Information was collected from a parent or guardian on the physical exercise experiences of children aged 4–14 years and on whether children aged 5–14 years spent more than two hours per day on screen-based activities. If the parent or guardian was not available, a close relative or other household member who had responsibility for the child provided information about the child.

In 2008, three out of every four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years (74%) were physically active for at least 60 minutes everyday in the week before interview (84% in remote compared with 71% in non-remote areas). More boys were physically active than girls, with 78% of boys and 70% of girls aged 4–14 years having been physically active for at least 60 minutes everyday in the week before interview.

3.1 PARTICIPATION IN PHYSICAL EXERCISE(a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years—2008

chart: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children's participation in physical activity in remote and non-remote areas, 2008
(a) At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity everyday in the week before interview.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
These estimates are also available for download in the Mothers' and children's health datacube.



About half the children (47%) played organised sport in the 12 months before interview, though the proportion in remote areas was 40% (49% non-remote). Girls had lower participation in remote areas (32% compared with 46% in non-remote areas). For boys aged 4–14 years, the participation rates in organised sport in both non-remote and remote areas were similar and higher than the overall rate for girls (51% compared with 43%).

The two most popular organised sports for children aged 4–14 years who lived in non-remote areas were Rugby League (10%) and Soccer (outdoor) (8%). For those who lived in remote areas, Australian Rules Football (17%) and Basketball (14%) were the two most popular sports. More boys played Australian Rules Football (17%) and Rugby League (16%) than other organised sports and for girls, the two most popular sports were Netball (13%) and Swimming (7%).

PARTICIPATION IN ORGANISED SPORT(a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years—2008

chart: participation in organised sport in non-remote and remote areas by male Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, 2008chart: participation in organised sport in non-remote and remote areas by female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, 2008

(a) Top five organised sports played in the previous 12 months.
(b) Difference between proportions for non-remote and remote are not statistically significant.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey
These estimates are also available for download in the Mothers' and children's health datacube.


In the two weeks before interview, 34% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years played up to five hours of organised sport (27% in remote areas) and 11% played from 5 to 14 hours of organised sport. A higher proportion of boys played up to five hours of organised sport than girls (36% compared with 31%), though the proportions were similar for those who played from 5 to 14 hours of organised sport in the two weeks before interview (11%).


PHYSICAL INACTIVITY

Spending more than two hours each day in childhood and adolescence on screen-based activities such as television viewing is associated with being overweight, having poor fitness, smoking and raised cholesterol in adulthood (Endnote 1).

In 2008, two-thirds of children aged 5–14 years (66%) spent more than two hours per day watching television, videos or DVDs. The proportion was greater for older children with 71% of those aged 10–14 years compared with 62% of children aged 5–9 years spending more than two hours daily on screen-based activities. The differences between the proportions for boys and girls and for children aged 5–14 years living in non-remote and remote areas were not statistically significant.

Of those children aged 5–14 years who spent more than two hours per day on screen-based activities, 31% from non-remote areas and 18% from remote areas did not meet the guidelines for at least 60 minutes of physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity every day. The difference was driven mainly by the behaviour of children aged 10–14 years, of whom 38% living in non-remote areas did not meet the physical activity guidelines compared with 23% of those in remote areas.

ENDNOTE

1. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing 2005, 'Physical Activity Recommendations for 5–12 year olds and Physical Activity Recommendations for 12-18 year olds', <www.healthyactive.gov.au>



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