Social participation may have positive impacts on the health of individuals and on the strength of communities. Minimising barriers to participation in culture and leisure activities for migrants can have a positive outcome by retaining links to their own cultural background and traditions, and by providing the opportunity for migrants to learn about aspects of Australian culture (ABS 2008a).
In 2005-06, proportionally more people from main English speaking countries attended cultural venues and events than those from other countries (90% compared with 76%). The most popular event attended by migrants in 1999 and 2005-06 was the cinema (57%), followed by botanic gardens (36%) and the library (36%) (ABS 2007a).
In Australia, as in many other countries, attendance at sporting events, or participation in sporting activities, is an avenue through which individuals can engage with the wider community.
In 2005-06, adults born overseas in main English speaking countries had the highest rate of participation in sport (72%). This was higher than the participation rate of those born in Australia (68%) and those born in other countries (51%). The most common sport or physical activity participated in by adults born overseas was walking for exercise, followed by aerobics, fitness, swimming, cycling and golf.
In 2005-06, attendance rates at sporting events for adults born overseas were considerably lower than for those born in Australia (42% for main English speaking countries and 21% for non-main English speaking countries, compared with 50% for born in Australia). Of those migrants who did attend sporting events the rate for men was much higher than for women (ABS 2007c). The sporting events migrants were most likely to attend were Australian rules football, horse racing and rugby league. Adults born overseas in main English speaking countries were more likely to attend rugby union and horse racing than those born in non-main English speaking countries. Conversely, adults born in non-main English speaking countries were more likely to attend outdoor soccer and cricket then those born in main English speaking countries.
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