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What do we know about physical activity among Indigenous people?

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What benefits are associated with physical activity?

Keeping physically active is important for staying healthy. Physical exercise is good for a person's social and emotional wellbeing and reduces the risks of heart problems, diabetes, and some cancers [1].

What do we know about physical activity among Indigenous people?

The 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social survey (NATSISS) found that three-quarters of Indigenous children had been active for at least one hour on every day in the week before the survey [2]. Very few children (3%) did no physical activity the week before the survey.

For Indigenous adults, the 2008 NATSISS found that around one-third had taken part in physical activity or sport in the 12 months before the survey (Derived from [3]).

The most recent data that can compare the physical activity of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is from the 2004-2005 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSIHS). This survey found that more Indigenous people than non-Indigenous people were sedentary (had very little or no exercise) [4]. One-half of the Indigenous people in the survey reported that they were sedentary compared with one-third of non-Indigenous people (Figure 7). Around one-fifth of Indigenous people and one-third of non-Indigenous people had moderate or high levels of physical activity.

Figure 1. Proportions (%) of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people by levels of physical activity, Australia, 2004-2005

Proportions (%) of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people by levels of physical activity, Australia, 2004-2005

Source: AIHW, 2011 [4]

References

  1. Department of Health and Ageing (2010) Physical activity guidelines. Retrieved 1 October 2010 from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009) National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social survey, 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2011 from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4714.0?OpenDocument
  3. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008: Tables 1 and 2: whether participated in sporting, social or community activities in last 12 months [unpublished] (2011) Australian Bureau of Statistics
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance framework 2010: detailed analyses. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
 
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