Department of Family and Community Services

4.6 Physical activity

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Adequate levels of physical activity among people 16 years and over

Current position

49 percent of NSW women and 61 percent of men undertook adequate levels of physical activity in 2011.

  • Gender gap
    Women are 11 percent less likely than men to undertake adequate levels of physical activity.
The direction of
change over time

Since 1998, the percentage of women and men aged 16 years and over who undertake adequate levels of physical activity has increased, but the trend appears to have peaked in 2009.

In 2011, the percentage of women undertaking adequate physical activity was nearly two
percentage points lower than in 2009. Young women (16 to 24 years) and women aged 45 to 54 years are the only age groups whose physical activity levels have continued to increase over the last decade, reaching 65 percent in 2011 for 16 to 24-year-old women and 53 percent for 45 to 54-year-old women.

Discussion

Being physically inactive increases the risk of ill-health especially later in life. As people age, they are less likely to undertake adequate physical activity (both sexes). See Figure 2.8.

The rate of adequate physical activity varies with socio-economic status, with more disadvantaged women less likely to engage in adequate physical activity. While there has been an increase in physical activity among all socio-economic groups over the last nine years, more change has occurred among more advantaged groups. See Table 2.8.

Adequate physical activity Indicator 4.6 is defined as undertaking physical activity for a total of at least 150 minutes per week over five separate occasions.

Year collected: 2011 and previous years.
Data source: Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence. Health Statistics New South Wales. NSW Ministry of Health.
More information is available at www.healthstats.nsw.gov.au

Figure 2.8 Rate of engaging in adequate physical activity by sex, 1998 and 2011

Fig 2.8

Note: Adequate physical activity is defined as engaging in a total of at least 150 minutes per week on five separate occasions.
Population: People aged 16 years and over.
Source: Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence. Health Statistics New South Wales. NSW Ministry of Health.

Table 2.8 Physical activity by socio-economic status, women, 2011 and change since 2002

Socio-economic group

Women 2011 %

Change since 2002 %

First quintile (most advantaged)

57

7

Second quintile

52

6

Third quintile

46

5

Fourth quintile

45

6

Fifth quintile (most disadvantaged)

43

5

Note: Adequate physical activity is defined as undertaking physical activity for a total of at least 150 minutes per week over five separate occasions.

Population: Women of all ages.
Source: NSW Adult Population Health Survey (SAPHaRI). Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health.

Figure 2.9 Lifestyle risks

Fig 2.9