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ABS notes declining sport and physical recreation participation

ABS notes declining sport and physical recreation participation
February 19, 2015

Just released figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that there has been a decrease in the number of Australians participating in sport and physical recreation.

ABS Household Surveys Director Gary Niedorfer explains "overall, 60% of Australians aged 15 years and over participated in sport and physical recreation in 2013/14, compared with 65%% in 2011/12."

The highest participation rate for sport and physical recreation in 2013/14 was in the Australian Capital Territory (73%). Queensland recorded the lowest participation rate with 54%.

Niedorfer added "3.5 million people reported walking for exercise, still the most popular physical recreational activity undertaken by Australians in 2013/14, this is despite a significant drop in the participation rate from 2011/12.

"(Walking) remains the exercise of choice for females in 2013/14, while the most popular activity for males was fitness/gym.

"There has also been a drop in the proportion of people undertaking other activities such as swimming and cycling."

The highest participation rate for sport and physical recreation was in the Australian Capital Territory (73%), while the other states ranged from 54% in Queensland to 67% in Tasmania.

Walking for exercise was the most popular physical recreational activity, with 19% of people aged 15 years and over walking for exercise at least once in the 12 months prior to interview. Females were more likely to walk for exercise than males (25% and 14% respectively). Fitness and gym were the next most popular activity (17%) again with more females than males participating (19% and 16% respectively). Males were more likely than females to play golf (6.6% and 1.4% respectively) or participate in cycling and BMXing (8.5% and 4.0% respectively). 

In the 12 months prior to interview, an estimated 5.2 million people aged 15 years and over (28%) reported that they were involved in organised sport and physical activity. This included 4.7 million people involved in playing roles (26% of persons aged 15 years and over), and 1.4 million people involved in non-playing roles (7.7%). 

Involvement in organised sport and physical activity generally decreased with age. People aged 15-24 years had the highest rate of involvement in a playing role (43%) and the highest rate of involvement overall (44%). In comparison, people aged 55-64 and 65 years and over had the lowest rate of involvement in a playing role (18% and 17% respectively ) and the lowest involvement overall (19% and 18% respectively). 

Of the 5.2 million people involved in organised sport and physical activity, 6.8% received some type of payment for their involvement. People involved as a coach, instructor or teacher were more likely to receive some payment (26%) than people in a playing role (2.8%).

The proportion of Australians playing tennis fell from 4.2% in 2011/12 to 3.0% in 2013/14. There were also falls in participation in other sports such as golf and cricket.

Further details are available in Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2013-14 (cat. no. 4177.0).

Click here to view the document on the ABS website.





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