Sports and physical recreation play a part in the lives of many Australians. The 2005-06 Multi-Purpose Household Survey (MPHS) found that, during the 12 months prior to interview, 66% of Australians aged 15 years and over participated in physical activities for recreation, exercise or sport. The survey obtained data about the characteristics of persons aged 15 years and over who participated in sport and physical recreation activities as a player, competitor or person who physically undertakes the activity. People who were involved as coaches, umpires or club officials are excluded from the data. Sports and physical recreation participation data from the MPHS has been published in Participation in Sports and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2005-06 (cat. no. 4177.0).
This survey includes details on the number of persons who participated in sporting events and physical recreation activities in the 12 months prior to interview; the socio-demographic characteristics of participants; the most popular sports and physical recreation activities; frequency and regularity of participation; and the constraints and motivators to participation.
Information on this topic was previously collected for those aged 18 years and over in the Population Survey Monitor (1993 to 2000) and in the 2002 General Social Survey. Care should be taken when comparing results from these surveys, as the methodology used in each of these surveys differed and this may affect the validity of comparisons.
The National Health Survey (NHS), conducted in 1989-90, 1995, 2001 and 2004-05, collected information about participation in exercise during the two weeks prior to interview for persons aged 18 years and over. Data from the NHS has been published in National Health Survey: Summary of Results (cat. no. 4364.0). Exercise data for Indigenous persons was collected by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey for 2004-05 and by its predecessors for 1995 and 2001.
The Survey of Children's Participation in Culture and Leisure Activities, conducted in April of 2000, 2003 and 2006 collected data on participation in organised sport outside school hours for children aged 5-14 years. These data are available in Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia (cat. no. 4901.0).
The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, conducted in 1998 and 2003, obtained information regarding whether persons with a disability had participated in sports and recreation away from home during the previous 12 months. The survey data have been published in Disability, Ageing and Carers: Summary of Findings, Australia (cat. no. 4430.0).
When comparing data from different sources it is important to take into consideration the scope and methodology of the surveys. These issues are discussed in this chapter wherever such comparisons are made.