4835.0.55.001 - Physical Activity in Australia: A Snapshot, 2007-08  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/09/2011   
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09 September 2011
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)
Six out of ten Australian adults not getting enough exercise

Around six out of ten Australian adults did not meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity in 2007-08, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Women were less likely than men to have met the guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week (29% compared with 33%).

Around three-quarters of people aged 75 years and over did not meet these guidelines. The remainder of the population exercised more, with their levels ranging from 56% to 64%.

Physical activity levels were related to a number of environmental and socio-economic conditions:
  • Adults living in lowest income households were more likely to be sedentary or exercise at low levels (79%) than those in highest income households (61%);
  • Almost half (45%) of employed adults worked in a less active job environment (for example, office work);
  • Women were more likely to spend 4 hours or more per day sitting at work (57%) than men (47%); and
  • People who had dependent children were less likely to meet the recommended physical activity guidelines (28%) than those who did not have children (33%).

Being physically inactive can lead to being overweight and obese, which can increase the risk of developing a number of chronic health conditions. Men and women who were sedentary or exercised at low levels were more likely to have heart disease, stroke and vascular disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes and arthritis than those who exercised at moderate or high levels.

More details are available in Physical Activity in Australia: A Snapshot, 2007-08 (cat. no. 4835.0.55.001).

Media note:
When reporting ABS data the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.