AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration AIHW corporate plan 2016–17 to 2019–20 Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Nous review Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public Interest Disclosure Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions COPD Deaths Dementia Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Health performance Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies Overweight & obesity Palliative care services Population health Primary health care Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publications Online reports Subscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs AIHW annual reports Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular disease Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Data standards Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Health performance Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Injury Life expectancy Male health Mental health services Mothers & babies Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Primary health carePrisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR—metadata online registry Data by subject AIHW data collections Customised data analysis request Data governance framework Data linking Data standards GovHack Privacy of data Accessing Australian Government health and welfare data
By subjectAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework Adoptions Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators (CHI) Child protection Data sources for monitoring health conditionsDeaths Diabetes Disability
Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General Record of Incidence of Mortality (GRIM) books Hospitals Indigenous Australians International collaboration Maternity Information Matrix (MIM) Medical indemnity Mental health Mortality Over Regions and Time (MORT) books National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse
National core maternity indicators (NCMI) National framework for protecting Australia’s children (NFPAC) National indicator catalogue National Youth Information Framework (NYIF) Perinatal data Primary Health Network (PHN) Priority Investment Approach dataset Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AIHW committeesAIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee
National & advisory committeesACFADD AHSAC AODTS NMDS WG Cancer CKDMAC CVDMAC HEACIGIHM JJ RIG MHISSC
NAGATSIHID NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG NMDDNMDS NMHPSC NOPSAD
NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees
In other sections About the AIHW Data Publications Contact AIHW
Education worksheets Infographics What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Resources by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Graduates
AIHW Access magazine Media releases Subscribe to release notices Embargoed access to AIHW material Media contacts
You are here:
Low levels of physical activity are a major risk factor for ill health and mortality from all causes. People who do not do sufficient physical activity have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Being physically active improves mental and musculoskeletal health and reduces other risk factors such as overweight and obesity, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.
Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by the muscles which results in energy expenditure. Although most measures of physical activity focus on deliberate activity during leisure time, other forms of activity such as walking or cycling for transport, work-related activity, and daily household tasks such as housework or gardening all contribute to total physical activity.
Australia's 2014 Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend that adult Australians aged 18–64:
There are different guidelines for children and young people [2, 3, 4] and for older adults .
In the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2011–12 Australian Health Survey (AHS), people were asked to report the intensity, the duration and the number of sessions spent on physical activity during the week preceding the survey .
Results presented here focus on the population who are not sufficiently active for health, which captures those who, in the past week, were:
Based on self-reported data from the 2011–12 AHS, over 1 in 2 people aged 18 and over (56%) do not meet physical activity guidelines. Overall, a higher proportion of women (58%) than men (53%) do not meet physical activity guidelines.
Physical inactivity increases with age (Figure 1). For those aged 18–24, 42% of men and 51% of women do not meet physical activity guidelines. For those aged 75 and over, 67% of men and 81% of women do not meet physical activity guidelines.
Source: AIHW analysis of unpublished ABS 'Australian Health Survey, 2011–12 (Core component)' (see source data).
There are currently no trend data for the level of physical activity in the adult population, using the measures in the AHS. Data presented here are based on trends in the proportion of adults who were physically inactive based on a derived measure of intensity, duration and session from past national health surveys.
Between 1989–90 and 2011–12 there has been little change in the proportion of adults who do not meet physical activity guidelines (age-standardised; Figure 2).
Sources: AIHW analysis of the ABS 1989–90, 1995, 2001, 2004–05, 2007–08 NHS CURFs and 'Microdata: Australian Health Survey, Core Content—Risk Factors and Selected Health Conditions, 2011–12 (see source data).
Adults living in Inner regional or Outer regional and remote areas are, on average, less active (at 62% and 61% respectively) than those living in Major cities (53%) (Figure 3).
The proportion of people who do not meet physical activity guidelines increases with socioeconomic disadvantage. Sixty per cent of men and 67% of women living in the most disadvantaged areas do not meet physical activity guidelines, compared with 44% of men and 50% of women living in the least disadvantaged areas.
Note: Q1–Q5 refers to area-based quintiles classified according to Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas 2011 (SEIFA 2011), specifically the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD).
Source: AIHW analysis of ABS 'Microdata: Australian Health Survey, Core Content—Risk Factors and Selected Health Conditions, 2011–12' (see source data).
The 2011–12 AHS indicates that 29% of children (aged 5–11) and 8% of adolescents (aged 12–17) undertake the recommended physical activity every day. Toddlers and pre-schoolers (aged 2–4) spend an average of around 6 hours per day engaged in physical activity .