Supporting Inactive Australians to become Active
Physical inactivity is a significant factor in Australia’s growing chronic disease burden. According to the Intergenerational Review of Australian Sport 2017, it is the fourth largest cause of non-communicable disease in Australia, with 14,000 to 16,000 Australians dying directly from it each year.
Undertaking regular physical activity is a well-established way to prevent and treat leading non-communicable diseases. It is also associated with improving mental health, quality of life and wellbeing.
Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines outline the recommended activity levels for all stages of life, from birth to old age. However, across all life stages significant numbers of Australian’s are failing to meet the recommendations and exceeding the sedentary guidelines.
Being physical active is important across all stages of life, from supporting healthy growth and development in children and young people to the social and health benefits for retirees, physical activity needs to be an essential part of every Australian's life.
A recent study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates a 13% reduction in the disease burden due to physical inactivity if those ‘at risk’ did an extra 15 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week.
Movement for life can help us address the chronic health burden we are facing. Sport and physical activity organisations have an important role to play in increasing physical activity levels and improving the health and wellbeing of all Australians.
Sport 2030 and the Move It AUS Campaign encourage and support all Australians to become more active, particularly those who currently aren’t active enough.
To become the world’s most active sporting nation we need all Australians, at all stages of life to move and be active more often. Of significant concern are those members of society that are less likely to be active. Australians are less likely to be active if they are over 65; a person with a disability; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; from a culturally or linguistically diverse background; from a regional area; and live in low income households. Women and girls are less likely to be active in ways which maintain or improve their health compared to men and boys.
There are many reasons these and other populations within our society are inactive, barriers to participation are complex and differ across the life stages; they include factors such as access, time and cost. New programs and approaches targeted at addressing the specific barriers populations face, build understanding and awareness of the importance of physical activity whilst changing attitudes and behaviours towards being active are required.
Programs that target inactive populations must be evidence based to deliver meaningful change. Evidence informed programs that understand and address the barriers to participation inactive people face will support more Australians to move more often and help us become the world’s most active sporting nation.
2018-19 Move It AUS Participation Grant Program
Further Learning / Research
For relevant research and related information visit:
- Physical activity across the life stages, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
- Physical Literacy, Sport Australia
- Youth Participation, Sport Australia
- Intergenerational Review of Australian Sport 2017, Sport Australia
- Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines, The Department of Health
- Global action plan on physical activity 2018-2030: More active people for a healthier world, World Health Organization
- Blueprint for an active Australia, Heart Foundation
- AusPlay Survey - participation data for the sport sector, Clearinghouse for Sport
- Market Segmentation for Sports Participation, Clearinghouse for Sport
- Preventive Health, Sport and Physical Activity, Clearinghouse for Sport
- Modified Sports, Clearinghouse for Sport
- Persons with Disability and Sport, Clearinghouse for Sport
- Indigenous Australians and Sport, Clearinghouse for Sport
- Sport and Mental Health, Clearinghouse for Sport
- Sport in Rural and Regional Australia, Clearinghouse for Sport
- Women's Sport, Clearinghouse for Sport