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What do we know about physical activity among Indigenous people?

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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].

The 2012-13 AATSIHS reported 46% of Indigenous adults living in non-remote areas had met a target of 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days (or a total of 150 minutes per week) [2]. More Indigenous men than Indigenous women living in non-remote areas met the target of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week (51% compared with (41%) and reported they had exercised for at least 150 minutes over five sessions in the previous week (44% compared with 36%). Indigenous men were more likely than Indigenous women to have exercised at moderate intensity (31% compared with 25%) and were twice as likely to have exercised at high intensity (14% compared with 7%) in the previous week.

In 2012-13, 62% of Indigenous adults reported that they were physically inactive (sedentary or had exercised at a low level) in the week prior to the survey; this level of physical inactivity was slightly higher than that for non-Indigenous adults [2].


  1. Australia's physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines (2014) Australian Government Department of Health
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013) Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey: first results, Australia, 2012-13. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
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