The physical activity guidelines used in the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey recommend:
adults to include 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity over five or more sessions per week
children 5-17 to include at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (such as organised sport, PE classes) each day
The recommendation for adults can be translated from the National Physical Activity Guidelines to recommend at least 30 minutes of activity on most, preferably all days.
Testing indicated that the way the guidelines had been developed into a survey instrument for use in non-remote areas did not work well in more remote areas of Australia. As a result, in remote areas, minimal data was collected only for the day prior to the interview for a range of physical activities, with no measurement of the intensity of these activities. Questions on duration collected information on whether remote respondents achieved more or less than 30 minutes of physical activity on the day prior to the interview (for adults), or more or less than 60 minutes for children aged 5 to 17. Therefore this data is only able to give an indication of whether adults and children achieved the guideline on the day prior to the interview. A minimal amount of information was collected on sedentary behaviour for similar reasons.
Only types of sedentary activities undertaken were collected in the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey. The amount of time spent on these activities was not collected.
Body Mass Index
Body Mass Index (BMI), calculated using height and weight measurements, is a measure for defining a person as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. For more information, see the Glossary.
Regular physical activity, no matter what age, can have immediate and long-term health benefits and is a crucial element for maintaining a healthy body mass.
In remote areas, as age increased from young children to adults, the amount of time spent on physical activity decreased. Just over four in five (86%) young children aged 5-14 did more than 60 minutes of physical activity on the day prior to the interview. Teenagers aged 15-17, on the other hand, did significantly less physical activity than younger children with two in three (66%) doing more than 60 minutes. For adults aged 18 years and over, the requirement decreases to only 30 minutes per day, yet the rate fell even further to just over one in two (55%).
Footnote(s): (a) In the day prior to the interview
Source(s): Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Physical Activity, 2012-13
The decrease in physical activity as age increased corresponded with the increase in rates of obesity seen in the older age groups. There was no significant difference in the proportion of underweight or normal and overweight or obese 5-17 year olds who did more than 60 minutes of physical activity. However, for adults, significantly more underweight and normal weight adults did more than 30 minutes of physical activity than overweight and obese adults (65% compared with 51%).
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