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Latest AusPlay data shows further increase in adult participation in sport and physical activity

Latest AusPlay data shows further increase in adult participation in sport and physical activity
May 7, 2020

More than 82% of adult Australians participated in sport and physical activity at least once a week in 2019 according to the latest AusPlay figures from Sport Australia.

Released by Sport Australia on 30th April with no accompanying statement, the figures show an ongoing rise in sport and physical activity with 63.6% of Australians reporting they are active at least three times a week - compared with 63% in 2018 and 47.7% in 2019 - and 90.4% of Australians reporting they exercise 'at least once per year'.

While reporting on Australians participating in sport and physical activity at least once a year would appear to be of little value, the figures also show that female activity declined in 2019, with 65.4% reporting that they were active at least three times a week, compared with 66.1% in both 2017 and 2018.

Men's activity increased in 2019, to 61.8% participating in sport and physical activity at least three times a week, compared with 59.8% in 2018.

Breaking down participation across Australia, the ACT once again reported the highest participation, while Tasmania recorded the most improvement.

The AusPlay figures also advised that while sport related participation had remained stagnant, the years from 2001 to 2019 had seen a 20% rise in non-sport physical activity.

However, while reporting on rising activity levels, the study revealed that in terms of meeting Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines, only 34.3% of the population achieve this.

As for sports and activities undertaken by Australians, football, AFL, golf, netball and tennis were the most popular clubs sports while recreational walking, fitness/gym activities, bush walking, yoga and Pilates were the most popular 'non-sport' physical activities.

With the AusPlay data covering the last calendar year (January to December 2019), before Coronavirus arrived in Australia, there are fears that current participation levels have declined dramatically during lockdown.

As reported last month by The Sunday Age, Sport Australia acting Chief Executive Rob Dalton says sport needs to “get people moving” after months in lockdown, advising “the biggest issue is going to be re-engagement.

"We are creatures of habit. We are concerned that the longer this goes, we are going to lose a cohort of people who won’t come back to sport and will find something else to fill the void.

“We are already 194 out of 197 on the global obesity index. There isn’t a lot of margin for error.”

Earlier this week, Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition  commenced a national survey to gauge the short and longer term impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the health and activity of children.

Click here to visit the AusPlay website.

Main image: Youth participation at the Australian Schools Cross Country Championships. Tables courtesy of AusPlay.

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