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4725.0 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth, Apr 2011  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/05/2012  Reissue
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Contents >> Culture, Heritage and Leisure >> Participation in leisure and play activities


CULTURE, HERITAGE AND LEISURE: PARTICIPATION IN LEISURE AND PLAY ACTIVITIES

This article is part of a comprehensive series released as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing: A focus on children and youth.


Note: In this section 'children' refers to people aged 4–14 years (unless otherwise stated). Data presented are from the ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 (cat. no. 4714.0).

KEY MESSAGES

In 2008:
  • 96% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 3–14 years played with other children their own age at least once a week
  • 74% of children aged 3–14 years living in remote areas played with children their own age every day, compared with 50% of children in non-remote areas
  • 47% of children aged 4–14 years had participated in one or more organised sporting activities in the last year.

PLAY WITH FRIENDS

Play is vital for children's development and it has been recognised internationally as a right of every child in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Endnote 1). Playing with other children is particularly important in learning social skills and exercising creativity.

In 2008, almost all (96%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 3–14 years played with children their own age at least once a week. In addition, just over three-quarters (77%) of children played with older children at least once a week. Those living in remote areas were more likely to play with children their own age (74%) and/or older children (50%) every day than were children in non-remote areas (50% and 40% respectively).

Of all children aged 4–14 years (139,400 children), those who played with other children their own age or older every day were more likely than those who did not, to be physically active for at least an hour each day (80% compared with 61%).

ORGANISED SPORT

Participation in sport and other physical activities can provide a range of benefits, including improvements in health and fitness and increased self-esteem (Endnote 2).

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) collected information on the participation of children aged 4–14 years in organised sport in the 12 months before the survey. Overall, about half (47%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children had played an organised sport during that period.

Of all 4–14 year old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in 2008:
  • 28% had played one sport
  • 13% had played two sports
  • 5% had played three or more sports.
Approximately 51% of boys and 43% of girls had played organised sport in the last 12 months.

For boys, Australian rules football (17%) and rugby league (16%) were the most common sports played, while for girls netball (13%) and swimming (7%) were most common.

Children's participation in organised sport was lower in remote areas (40%) than in non-remote areas (49%). However, children in remote areas were more likely than children in non-remote areas to have spent at least an hour every day engaged in physical activity (84% compared with 71%).

In remote areas, the most popular sports were Australian rules football (17%) and basketball (14%). In non-remote areas, the most popular sports were indoor or outdoor soccer (10%) and rugby league (10%).

5.1 TYPE OF ORGANISED SPORT CHILDREN PARTICIPATED IN(a), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–14 years—2008

Types of organised sport
Non-remote
%
Remote
%
Total
%

Australian Rules Football
8.2
16.6
10.2
Soccer (indoor or outdoor)
(b) 9.8
(b) 8.8
9.5
Rugby League
9.5
5.19.5
8.55
Swimming
7.5
4.17.5
6.7
Basketball
4.3
13.64.3
6.5
Netball
7.1
3.37.1
6.2
Athletics/Track and field
(b) 4.7
(b) 2.9
4.3
Cricket (indoor or outdoor)
(b) 3.7
(b) *2.2
3.3
Other(c)
17.7
8.51
15.5
Total played an organised sport
49.2
40.1
47.0
Did not play organised sport
50.5
58.8
52.5
Total(d)
100.0
100.0
100.0

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.
(a) Respondents could provide more than one answer.
(b) Difference between non-remote and remote areas is not statistically significant.
(c) Other includes tennis, martial arts, gymnastics, hockey and other organised sport not further defined.
(d) Total includes not stated responses to whether child had played organised sport.
Source: 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey

Children who had played an organised sport in the 12 months before the survey were more likely than those who had not to be in excellent or very good health (81% compared with 73%).


ENDNOTES

1. United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights 1989, Convention on the Rights of the Child, General Assembly resolution 44/25, Geneva, <www2.ohchr.org>.

2. Shilton, T.R. and Brown, W.J. 2004, 'Physical activity among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities', Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Vol. 7, No. 1, Supp. 1, pp. 39-42.

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