Level of exercise statistics

In 2014/15, 65.3% of Australians aged 15 and over were sedentary or had low levels of exercise (comprised of 33.8% sedentary and 31.5% low levels of exercise).

In total, 12 million Australians aged 15 and over had either sedentary or low levels of exercise.

Sedentary status by gender and age

In 2014/15, close to a third of males aged 15 and over were sedentary, accounting for three million male Australians. Thirty five per cent of females aged 15 and over were sedentary, accounting for over three million female Australians.

The prevalence of sedentary behaviour increases with age.

% Sedentary status by gender and age

Age group

Male

Female

Total

15–17

16.0%

24.9%

20.1%

18–24

27.2%

31.0%

29.4%

25–34

26.7%

25.1%

25.8%

35–44

32.7%

32.4%

32.5%

45–54

34.1%

35.2%

34.8%

55–64

35.0%

36.7%

35.7%

65–74

41.4%

39.0%

40.4%

75+

52.4%

62.2%

57.2%

Total

32.9%

34.8%

33.8%

Low levels of exercise by gender and age

In 2014/15, over a quarter of males in Australia aged 15 and over had low levels of physical activity, representing 2.6 million male Australians. Over a third of females in Australia aged 15 and over had low levels of exercise, representing 3.2 million female Australians. Like sedentary behaviour, the prevalence of low levels of exercise increases with age.

% Low levels of exercise by gender and age
 

Age group

Male

Female

Total

15–17

22.3%

31.0%

26.3%

18–24

25.7%

35.9%

30.6%

25–34

24.5%

39.6%

32.2%

35–44

32.7%

34.5%

33.6%

45–54

29.7%

32.2%

30.7%

55–64

32.4%

34.5%

33.3%

65–74

29.3%

36.2%

32.8%

75+

25.2%

24.9%

24.7%

Total

28.5%

34.4%

31.5%

Sedentary level of exercise trends over time

Compared to 1995, there has been a decrease in Australians aged 15 and over having sedentary behaviour.

% Sedentary status over time
 
 

1995

2001

2004/05

2007/08

2011/12

2014/15

Sedentary behaviour (total)

35.3%

31.6%

34.1%

35.2%

35.4%

33.8%

Sedentary behaviour (total)

35.0%

30.9%

33.6%

34.2%

32.9%

32.9%

Sedentary behaviour (total)

35.4%

32.2%

34.4%

36.1%

37.6%

34.8%

Level of exercise by location

In 2014/15, the prevalence of sedentary behaviour amongst Australians 15 years and over was significantly lower in the ACT than any other state/territory. Sedentary and low levels of exercise was highest in South Australia and Tasmania.

State/territory

%

New South Wales

66.4%

Tasmania

67.0%

Queensland

66.6%

South Australia

67.4%

Northern Territory

62.2%

Victoria

63.9%

Western Australia

61.9%

Australian Capital Territory

58.5%

Level of exercise by socio-demographic status

In 2014/15, sedentary and low levels of exercise were significantly higher amongst those in the highest disadvantaged group, those who speak a language other than English at home and those from regional and remote areas.

% Sedentary/low level of exercise by socio-demographic status
 
 
 

Sedentary/Low exercise

Country of birth

Australia
Born overseas

65.0%
68.8%

Main language spoken at home

English
Language other than English

65.0%
73.8%

Labour force

Employed
Unemployed

61.9%
66.9%

Index of disadvantage

Highest disadvantaged
Lowest disadvantaged

76.1%
55.8%

Remoteness

Major cities
Regional and remote

64.3%
72.4%

References

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey 2011/2012. (4364.0)

 

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