Sport and physical recreation play a part in the lives of many Australians. Information relating to various aspects of participation in sport and physical recreation is collected through the use of a range of surveys conducted by the ABS. The following provides a summary of the various sources used in this chapter.
The 2011-12 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) found that, during the 12 months prior to interview, 65% of Australians aged 15 years and over participated in physical activities for recreation, exercise or sport. The survey obtained data about the characteristics of people aged 15 years and over who participated in sport and physical recreation activities as a player, competitor or person who physically undertook the activity. People who were involved as coaches, umpires or club officials have been excluded from the data. Sport and physical recreation participation data from the MPHS have been published in ABS (2012f) Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4177.0).
The MPHS included details on the number of people 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; and the frequency and regularity of participation. Sport and physical recreation data has also been collected as part of the 2005-06 and 2009-10 MPHS.
Information on this topic was previously collected in the ABS (2001b) Population Survey Monitor, 1993 to 2000, the ABS (2003) General Social Survey, 2002. 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.
Similar care should be taken when comparing information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults' participation in sport and physical activities, which was collected as part of the ABS (2008g) National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 (cat. no. 4714.0).
The Survey of Children's Participation in Culture and Leisure Activities (CPCLA), conducted every three years since April 2000, collects data on participation in organised sports outside school hours for children aged 5 to 14 years. These data are available in ABS (2012c) Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, 2012 (cat. no. 4901.0).
The 2009 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers collected information about whether people with a disability had participated in sport or physical recreation away from home in the previous 12 months. Data from this survey have been published in ABS (2010a) Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0). The 2009 survey was largely a repeat of the 2003 survey, allowing for some comparisons over time.
Participating in sport and physical recreation is one way that adults and children can stay active and healthy. Preliminary results with data about adults' exercise levels are available in the ABS (2012a) publication Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-2012 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001) with updated results scheduled for a May 2013 release. The preliminary results are included here as an indication of how much physical activity people are regularly undertaking. More detailed information on exercise based on 8 days of pedometer readings and more detailed physical activity questions will be available upon release of results from the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (NNPAS) in 2013.
When comparing data from different sources it is important to take into consideration the differing scope and methodology of the surveys. These issues are discussed in this chapter wherever such comparisons are made.