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4177.0 - Participation in Sport and Physical Activities, Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/12/2003   
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SUMMARY

Nearly two-thirds (62.4% or 9.1 million people) of the Australian population aged 18 years and over participated in sport and physical activities in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. Slightly more males (65.0%) than females (59.9%) participated in sport and physical activities at least once during this period. However, 38.6% (5.6 million) of the population participated at least weekly, on average, during the 12 months prior to interview, with females (38.7% or 2.8 million) reporting similar weekly participation rates to males (38.6% or 2.8million).

The highest participation rate was recorded for walking for exercise, with over one-quarter (25.3% or 3.7 million people) having participated in this activity during the reference period. This was followed by aerobics/fitness and swimming, both with 10.9% or 1.6 million people.

Almost one-third (31.4%) of the population aged 18 years and over had participated in some sport and physical activities that were organised by a club, association or other organisation. Males (34.3%) were more likely to participate in organised activity compared to females (28.5%). Over one-half (50.4% or 7.3 million) of people aged 18 years and over had participated in some non-organised sport and physical activities. Walking for exercise, swimming, cycling and running were the most common non-organised activities.


AGE AND SEX

People aged 18–24 years (72.6%) were most likely to have participated in sport and physical activities in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002, followed by people aged 25–34 years (71.8%). Rates of participation declined with increasing age, with the lowest participation rate being recorded for those aged 65 years and over (45.6%). More males (4.7 million or 65.0%) than females (4.4 million or 59.9%) participated in sport and physical activities. While the participation rates for males were higher than for females in most age groups, the participation rates for females aged 45-54 years (60.5%) and 55-64 years (59.7%) were higher than those for males in these age groups (58.3% and 56.1% respectively).


AREA OF RESIDENCE

The rate of participation in sport and physical activities was slightly higher by residents of capital cities (63.4%) than those resident elsewhere in Australia (60.6%). The highest participation rate was recorded for people in the Australian Capital Territory (76.1%), while the lowest was recorded in South Australia (57.7%). However, the highest number of people who had participated in sport and physical activities was recorded in New South Wales (2.9 million), followed by Victoria (2.3 million).


BIRTHPLACE

The highest participation rate was recorded for people born in the main English-speaking countries (68.9%). This was 4.5 percentage points higher than for those born in Australia. By comparison, 50.2% of people born in other countries had participated in sport and physical activities during the 12-month period. The lowest participation rate was recorded for females born in other countries (45.8%).


EMPLOYMENT STATUS

Employed people had a higher rate of participation (68.9%) than those who were unemployed (61.3%), and those employed full-time (69.5%) had a higher participation rate than those employed part-time (67.6%). The lowest participation rate was recorded for people not in the labour force (49.6%), of which two-thirds (62.9% or 1.4 million people) were retired from work.


HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION

The highest participation rate for sport and physical activities was recorded for persons in couple families with dependent children (65.3%), while single parents with dependent children had a lower participation rate (58.5%). The lowest participation rate was recorded for persons in lone person households (57.2%).


TYPE OF PARTICIPATION

Almost one-third (31.4% or 4.6 million) of the population aged 18 years and over had participated in some sport and physical activities that were organised by a club, association or other organisation. Males (34.3%) were more likely to participate in organised activity compared to females (28.5%).

Over one-half (50.4% or 7.3 million) of people aged 18 years and over had participated in some non-organised sport and physical activities. Over one-third of these (2.8million) had also participated in sport and physical activities organised by a club or association.


FREQUENCY OF PARTICIPATION

For over half of those who had undertaken some participation in the last 12 months (61.8% or 5.6 million), the frequency of participation in all activities was more than 52 times per year, indicating that their participation was, on average, at least a weekly event. This represents a participation rate of 38.6% of the population aged 18 years and over.

The proportion of the population with this frequency of participation was similar for both males and females - 2.8 million or 38.6% for males and 2.8 million or 38.7% for females.

Almost three-quarters (73.4% or 6.6 million) of people aged 18 years and over who participated in sport and physical activities, limited their participation to one or two activities. There were 402,200 (4.4%) who participated in five or more activities. Males participated in more activities than females with 30.6% of males, compared with 22.4% of females, participating in three or more activities.


PARTICIPATION IN MAIN SPORT AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES

Walking for exercise was the most popular of all sports and physical activities with Australians aged 18 years and over. Over 3.6 million Australians walked for exercise during this period; a participation rate of 25.3%. Aerobics/fitness and swimming had the equal second highest numbers of participants, both having 1.6 million participants and a participation rate of 10.9%. Golf also attracted over one million participants (1.1 million or 7.5%) during the 12-month period. Participation in yoga (311,000 people) was slightly higher than in Australian Rules football (307,900 people).

Almost twice as many females (2.4million) walked for exercise in the 12-month period than males (1.3million). Participation in Australian Rules football was dominated by males (297,700), with only 10,100 females participating in this sport. Similarly male participation in golf (890,300), cricket (indoor and outdoor) (466,900) and fishing (437,500) was much higher than participation in these sports by females (193,300, 36,500 and 70,600 respectively). Female participation in netball (389,400), yoga (266,200) and dancing (206,400) was much higher than that by males (65,500, 44,900 and 48,000 respectively).

Activities that were more commonly undertaken in an organised capacity included: lawnbowls (99.0% had participated in some organised lawn bowls); hockey (92.8%), rugbyunion (92.7%) and baseball (92.6%). Activities such as walking for exercise (95.4%), cycling (91.0%) and swimming (88.7%) were more commonly undertaken in a non-organised capacity (without the aid of a club, association or other organisation to organise participation in the activity). A more even split between organised and non-organised participation was a feature of activities such as golf (50.3% was organised), ten pin bowling (48.2%) and horse riding (47.4%).


SELECTED SPORT AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES

Aerobics/fitness

Almost 1.6 million Australians aged 18 years and over (10.9%) participated in aerobics/fitness activities during the 12-month period. New South Wales had the highest number of people who had participated in these activities (523,000). The highest participation rates were recorded in Western Australia (16.4%) and the Australian Capital Territory (16.0%).

One and one-half times as many females (953,200) participated in aerobics/fitness than males (632,300) during the 12-month period.

The highest participation rate for aerobics/fitness was recorded for people aged 18–24years (17.0%) and the highest number of people participating were in the age groups 25-34 years (440,600), followed by the 35-44 year age group (337,100).

Over one-half (51.2% or 812,200) of the people who participated in aerobics/fitness activities in the 12 months prior to interview did so more than 52 times. This was 5.6% of the Australian population aged 18 years and over. A further 287,600 people participated in these activities 27 to 52times.

The majority (57.1%) of the people who participated in aerobics/fitness were involved in non-organised activity only. A further 36.5% were only involved in aerobics/fitness activities that were organised by clubs, associations, or other organisations (such as fitness centres).

Bushwalking

There were 465,300 people aged 18 years and over who had been bushwalking in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. This was a participation rate of 3.2%. The highest participation rate was recorded for residents of Tasmania and of the Australian Capital Territory, both with 6.2%, while the highest numbers of people participating were residents of Victoria (124,500) and New South Wales (123,300).

Slightly more females (240,100) than males (225,300) had been bushwalking in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002, a participation rate of 3.3% for females and 3.1% for males.

Nearly one-quarter (24.9%) of the people who had bushwalked in the 12-month period were aged 35-44 years (115,900). The second highest number of participants was recorded for the 44-54 age group (103,300), which also had the highest participation rate (4.2%).

Of the 465,300 people who had bushwalked during the 12-month period, 37.6% had done so 1 to 6 times. A further 22.7% reported having been bushwalking 7 to 12 times. There were 69,100 people (14.8%) who went bushwalking more than 52 times. The majority (87.8%) of people who had been bushwalking had only participated as a non-organised activity.

Cycling

Cycling had the sixth highest participation rate (5.7%) of all sport and physical activities. There were 829,600 people aged 18 years and over who reported having cycled in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. The state or territory with the highest number of people who had been cycling was New South Wales (236,500). The highest participation rates were recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (12.8%), the Northern Territory (12.1%) and Western Australia (9.6%).

More males (524,000, a participation rate of 7.3%) than females (305,600 or 4.2%) had cycled in the 12-month period.

Nearly one-third (31.1%) of people who had participated in this activity were aged 25-34 years, and a further 27.6% were aged 35-44 years. Only 10.8% of people who reported they had been cycling in the 12-month period were aged 18-24years.

Nearly one-third (32.3%) of people who had cycled in the 12 months prior to interview had cycled more than 52 times in this period. A further 17.8% (147,500 people) undertook this activity 27 to 52 times.

The vast majority (91.0%) of people who had cycled were involved in non-organised cycling activities.

Fishing

In the 12 months prior to interview in 2002, there were 508,000 or 3.5% of Australians aged 18 years and over who had been fishing. The state or territory with the highest number of residents who had fished was New South Wales (140,100), followed by Queensland (131,800). The highest participation rates for this activity were recorded for the NorthernTerritory (9.1%), Tasmania (5.8%) and Western Australia (5.2%).

Over six times as many males (437,500 or 6.1%) as females (70,600 or 1.0%) had been fishing in the 12 months prior to interview.

The highest participation rates for fishing were recorded for the 45-54 year age group (4.5% or 119,000), and the 55-64 year age group (4.4% or 82,000).

Over one-quarter (28.2% or 143,300) of people who reported having fished in the 12-month period had been 7 to 12 times, with a further 27.3% (138,800) having fished 1 to 6 times in this period. There were 59,600 people (11.7%) who had been fishing more than 52 times.

The majority (88.4%) of people who had been fishing in the last 12 months had done so in a non-organised capacity (without the aid of a club, association or other organisation).

Golf

Golf had the fourth highest participation rate (7.5%) of all sport and physical activities surveyed. Nearly 1.1 million Australians aged 18 years and over had played golf in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. New South Wales had the highest number of participants (379,200) of all states and territories, followed by Victoria (293,000) and Queensland (197,100). The highest participation rates were recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (8.9%) and Victoria (8.0%).

Golf was played by more males (890,300 or 12.4%) than females (193,300 or 2.6%) in the 12months prior to interview.

The highest participation rate for golf was recorded in the 55–64 year age group (9.3% or 176,000 people), followed by those aged 45–54 years (8.8% or 233,700). Nearly 230,000 people (7.9%) aged 25–34 years had played golf in the 12-month period.

Almost one-third (30.6% or 331,300) of people who had played golf in the 12 months prior to interview had played 1 to 6 times, while nearly one-fifth (19.4%) had played more than 52 times.

Almost one-half (49.7%) of golf participants played it as a non-organised activity only, while nearly one-third (32.9%) of people reported having participated in golf organised by a club or association only.

Netball

In the 12 months prior to interview in 2002, some 454,900 Australians aged 18 years and over had played netball. This was a participation rate of 3.1%. The highest number of people participating in this sport was recorded in Victoria (137,200 people), followed by New South Wales (114,800). The highest participation rates for netball were recorded in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory (both 4.2%). Other participation rates ranged from 3.7% in Victoria to 2.3% in New South Wales.

Netball was predominantly played by females (389,400 or 5.3%), with only 65,500 (0.9%) males having played this sport in the 12 months prior to interview in 2002.

Almost one-tenth (9.6% or 183,700) of people aged 18–24 years had played netball in the 12-month period. The next highest participation rate was recorded for the 25-24 year age group (5.9% or 170,900 people).

Just over one-quarter (25.5% or 116,100 people) of netball participants had played this sport 27 to 52 times during the 12-month period, while one-fifth (20.5% or 93,400) had played netball 1 to 6 times.

The majority (81.4% or 369,800) of netball participants played netball games organised by clubs or associations.

Running

There were 662,800 people in Australia aged 18 years and over who had participated in running as a sport or physical activity in the 12 months before interview in 2002, representing a participation rate of 4.6%. The Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest participation rate (6.7%), followed by Western Australia (5.7%). Other participation rates ranged from 5.0% (New South Wales and Victoria) down to 2.2% (SouthAustralia).

Almost twice as many males (440,900 or 6.1%) as females (221,900 or 3.0%) reported running in the 12 months before interview.

The age group 25-34 years recorded the highest participation rate (7.6%), followed by the age group 18-24 years (6.8%). Participation rates generally declined with age from 5.5% of those aged 35-44 years down to 0.3% of those aged 65 years and over.

The majority of people who had been running were frequent participants, with 46.1% having been running more than 52 times and a further 22.6% having been running 27 to 52 times in the reference period. The majority (87.1%) had also participated in this activity in a non-organised capacity.

Swimming

Swimming had the third highest participation rate of all sport and physical activities included in the survey. In the 12 months before interview in 2002, some 1,575,900 people aged 18 years and over (10.9%) had been swimming. Of all states and territories, the highest participation rates were recorded in Western Australia (16.8%), the Australian Capital Territory (15.3%) and the Northern Territory (14.6%). The lowest participation rate was recorded for those residing in South Australia (6.6%). The highest number of participants was recorded in New South Wales (535,700), followed by Victoria (379,100) and Queensland (268,400).

More females (867,400) than males (708,400) had been swimming in the 12 months prior to interview. The participation rate for females was 11.8% compared with 9.9% for males.

The age group 35-44 years recorded the highest participation rate (14.0%), followed by the age groups 25-34 years (13.9%) and 18-24 years (13.7%).

One-quarter (25.6%) of those who had been swimming during the 12-month period undertook this activity 13 to 26 times. A further 23.3% had been swimming more than 52 times in this period. The majority (88.7%) had also participated in this activity in a non-organised capacity.

Tennis

Nearly one million people (987,900) aged 18 years and over had played tennis in the 12 months before interview in 2002. The highest participation rate was recorded for those residing in the Australian Capital Territory (9.0%), followed by New South Wales (7.9%). New South Wales also recorded the highest number of people having played this sport (385,000). Other participation rates ranged from 7.2% in Victoria down to 4.5% in the Northern Territory.

More males (7.6% or 544,500) played tennis than females (6.1% or 443,400) during the 12-month period.

The 25-34 years age group recorded the highest participation rate (9.5%), followed by the age groups 35-44 years and 18-24 years, which both had participation rates of 8.3%.

Almost one-third (30.7%) of those who had played tennis during the 12 months prior to interview had played 1 to 6 times.

One-quarter (25.3%) of those people who had played tennis during the 12-month period only participated in tennis organised by clubs or associations.

Walking for exercise

Walking for exercise was the sport and physical activity with the highest participation in Australia. Over 3.6 million people (25.3%) in Australia aged 18 years and over had reported walking for exercise during the 12 months prior to interview in 2002. The highest participation rate was recorded for those residing in Western Australia (38.3%), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (34.3%) and the Northern Territory (30.0%). Other participation rates ranged from 26.6% in Victoria down to 21.3% in New South Wales. While the lowest participation rate was recorded in NSW, this state had the highest number of people who had walked for exercise in the 12-month period (1.0million).

Nearly twice as many females (2.4 million) as males (1.3 million) had walked for exercise in the 12-month period. This represents a participation rate for females of 32.9% compared with 17.5% for males.

The 55-64 years age group recorded the highest participation rate (32.7%). The participation rate for other age groups ranged from 31.6% for those aged 45-54 years down to 12.6% for those aged 18-24 years.

Two-thirds (66.7%) of people who had walked for exercise during the 12-month period had done so more than 52 times, and the vast majority (95.4%) had been walking in a non-organised capacity.


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