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The ABS conducted a survey on the sports and physical activities in which people participated during a 12-month period prior to interview in 2002. This includes participation in sports or physical activities, such as football or netball, that are usually organised by a club or association. It also includes other sport and physical activities undertaken for recreation or exercise, which may not be organised, such as walking for exercise. Thus, for example, participation in swimming will include people who swim recreationally at the beach, those who swim competitively as part of a team, and those who swim laps at the local pool for exercise.
Popular sports and physical activities
The 2002 survey indicated the activities which attracted the most participants were walking (about 3.7 million people), swimming (1.6 million), aerobics/fitness (1.6 million) and tennis (1.0 million).
For men, the most popular activities were walking and golf. For women, walking and aerobics/fitness were most popular. Table 12.30 shows the ten sports or physical activities in which the most men participated and the ten in which the most women participated.
Exercise and Australians
The ABS National Health Survey, conducted in 2001, found 70% of adults had exercised for recreation, sport or fitness during the previous two weeks. Overall proportions of males and females who exercised were similar, but females were more likely to walk for exercise than males (58% and 50% respectively) while males were more likely to have undertaken moderate (40%) and vigorous (20%) exercise in the last two weeks, compared with females (33% and 11% respectively).
Attendance at sporting events
Attending sports events (such as club matches and international competitions) is a popular pastime of many Australians. The 2002 ABS Sports Attendance Survey indicated 7 million people, or 48% of all people aged 18 years and over, attended a sporting event (excluding junior and school sport) at least once in the previous 12 months. The overall attendance rate was virtually unchanged from the rates recorded in similar surveys conducted in 1995 and 1999. Men (56%) were more likely to have attended a sporting event than women (41%). For both men and women, attendance rates were highest for the 18-24 year age group (70% and 59% respectively) and steadily declined with age. Among men aged 65 years and over, the attendance rate was 27%, while for women in this age group it was 16%.
The sport with the highest attendance was Australian rules football - 2.5 million people attended this sport on at least one occasion during the year (table 12.31). Horse racing (1.9 million), motor sports (1.5 million) and rugby league (1.5 million) were also among the most attended sports.
Household expenditure on sports and physical recreation
The 1998-99 Household Expenditure Survey found households spent an average of $11.03 per week on selected sports and physical recreation products. This was 1.6% of the average weekly expenditure on all products and 1.3% of the average weekly household income. The categories of sports and physical recreation products with the highest levels of expenditure were sports facility hire charges ($2.07 per week), swimming pools ($1.29 per week) and boats, their parts and accessories ($1.21 per week).
In total, households spent $4,096.4m on selected sports and physical recreation products during 1998-99. Of this, $1,968.3m was spent on sports and physical recreation services, $1,630.4m on sports, physical recreation and camping equipment, and $493.9m on sports and recreation vehicles.
After adjusting for price changes, the average total weekly household expenditure on sports and physical recreation was virtually unchanged between 1993-94 and 1998-99. However, this was the result of upward movements in some expenditure categories balancing the downward movements in others. Categories for which average weekly household expenditure increased substantially were boats, their parts and accessories (a 146.9% increase) and sports lessons (74.0%). Categories which recorded falls in average weekly household expenditure were sporting club subscriptions (a 35.1% decrease), sports and physical recreation equipment (21.4%) and sports facility hire charges (15.2%).