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Physical activity is an important factor in maintaining good overall health and wellbeing, and can help in the prevention of long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
In 2011-12, while most Australians aged 15 years and over had undertaken exercise in the last week, the overall level of this activity was low. Taking into account the intensity, duration and frequency of individuals' physical activity, 66.9% of Australians were either sedentary or had low levels of exercise in the week prior to interview (comprised of 35.4% sedentary and 31.5% low levels of exercise). However, this is a decrease from 2007-08 when the proportion of people who were sedentary or had low levels of exercise was 71.6%.
Older people did less exercise than younger people, with 56.9% of people aged 75 years and over being sedentary and 25.8% having low levels of exercise.
Levels of exercise differ for men and women, with men generally more active than women. In particular, young males (15-17 year olds) were three times more likely to undertake high levels of exercise than women (31.2% compared with 11.8% respectively) and women aged 15-17 years were nearly twice as likely than men to be sedentary (28.7% compared to 14.5% respectively).
Footnote(s): (a) Level of exercise undertaken for fitness, recreation or sport in the last week. (b) Persons aged 15 years and over.
Source(s): Australian Health Survey: First Results
Previous results for exercise
National Health Survey 2007–08, 2004–05, 2001, 1995
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2004-05
Other articles on exercise
Sport and Physical Recreation: A Statistical Overview, Australia, 2012
Perspectives on Sport, July 2012
Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12
The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2008: Physical inactivity
Physical Activity in Australia: A Snapshot, 2007-08
Australian Social Trends, 2003: Risk factors
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