The results of the 2010 General Social Survey (GSS) provide information about various aspects of wellbeing and how these may relate to each other. Participation in sport and physical recreation was included as a social indicator.
The 2010 GSS found that 12.5 million Australians aged 18 years and over participated in sport or physical recreation, representing a participation rate of 74%. Participation rates varied between males and females, with male participation (76%) being slightly higher than female participation (72%).
Participation rates in sport or physical recreation showed a general decline in the older age groups. While the participation rate among young adults aged 18 to 24 years was 80%, the rate was much lower (61%) for Australians aged 65 years and over.
The rate of participation in sport or physical recreation differed with the type of household to which people belonged, with people in family households being more likely to participate in sport (75%) compared with those in all other households (70%).
There is a steady decline in participation rates in sport or physical recreation with lower levels of self-reported health, with the highest rate being for those with excellent self-assessed health (83%) and lowest for those who assessed their health to be poor (47%).
The participation rate in sport or physical recreation of those with a disability or long-term health condition (68%) was lower than those with no such condition (79%).
A 'lack of time' is often given by people as a reason for not participating in sport and physical recreation. The GSS data showed that working high numbers of hours per week does not necessarily deter people from participating in sport and physical recreation, with the highest participation rate (88%) being among participants working 41-48 hours per week. Likewise, increased travel time does not appear to reduce participation in sport and physical recreation activities. The participation rate was highest amongst those who travelled an hour or more to work (85%) compared with those who worked at home (79%).
Over three quarters (87%) of people who volunteered their time and services to an organisation in the 12 months prior to survey also participated in sport or physical recreation in the same time period. The participation rate for non-volunteers was much lower at 67%.