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Participation Levels of Physical Activity in Australia

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A report by Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) states that about two thirds of Australians who are15 years and over participate in at least one physical activity per year. The figures continue to show that in the recent past, the rate of participation has fallen from 66% to about 63%. The rate of men who participate in physical activities is higher that of women with the rates of 65% and 63% respectively. In addition, there is a likelihood that young people participate in physical activities more that the older ones. For example people who are between the ages of 15 and 17 years were reported to have had the highest rate of participation of 79% (Bauman & Brown, 2002). People aged 65 and over has lower rate of participation of 48% when it came to participation of sport events or other physical activities

The major areas where the rate of physical activity was high were in the Australian Capital and the Northern Territory. The two areas had rates of 77% and 72% respectively. Notably, thirty-six percent of the total population in Australia participates in at least one physical recreational activity. About 17% are said to have participated in at least two physical activities and about 11% participating in more than two physical activities. Some of the major physical activities that most Australians participates in include: walking exercises that makes about 23 %, gym, fitness  and aerobics that makes about 14% as well a swimming and driving that makes about 7 %. The report further observes that women participates more in this physical activities than men. The most popular physical activity based from the report was walking for exercise. This is according to the survey conducted in 2005 and 2006.

The statistics shows that low level of people participating in physical activity leads to development of ill-health. This leads to rise in mortality rate. People do not engage in sufficient physical activities as required by our bodies. This leads in development of risks such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes type 2, breast cancers, and osteoporosis among other disorders. Being actively involved in physical activities prevents overweight, high blood pressure as well as rise in the level of cholesterol in the body (Zimmet & Salmon, 2003). Therefore, when people are involved in physical a healthy nation is build.           

The report by National Physical Activity Survey shows that there has been increasing rates of leisure time that is utilized in physical activities. This has been through the efforts made by health sectors to ensure that people are able to achieve optimum health (Cockburn, & Adamson, 1999). It is recommended that a person should engage in at least 150 minutes per week physical activity that gives the moderate intensity in the recreational physical activities. However, some people engage in about five sessions per week. The data by National Physical Activity Survey in 2000 showed the following: about 54 percent of Australians who include over 7 million did not undertake sufficient recreational physical activities (Bauman & Booth 1998). This is especially the people aged 18 to75 years. 15 percent who make about 2 million of the total population in Australia did not undertake any physical activity. They were said to be sedentary. Their leisure time was used for other activities other than physical activities.

The report shows that most men and women engage in physical activities for health benefits. Thus, the rate of men and women participation was almost equal. This ranged to about 46 % men and 45 % for women. The Active Australia Survey is a common criterion that is used to measure the level of participation into physical activities (Zimmet & Salmon, 2003). Through the survey, people are also made to asses the required knowledge concerning the health messages that helps them to keep them with the current updates. Leisure time physical activity is also stressed during the survey. Public health sector is entitled to ensure that people engage in physical activities that will contribute to their well being. Thus, after the survey, the situation assessed gives an insight on what should be done to enlighten people.

The survey shows that half of the total population in Australia participates in physical activities. Due to the efforts made by the public health sector, the rate of participation has risen to about 105 times for the past 12 months (Bath & Morgan, 1998). Most of the physical activities that are participated are not formally organized. Thus, about 52 % of Australians organize their schedule and undertake their own physical activities. However, about 25 percent were said to have participated in formally organized physical activities. The number of men who participated in physical activities was said to have been high in comparison to the number of women. Moreover, the preferred areas that were used for physical activities were beaches, parks as well as the walking trails. About 58 % used these places to undertake their activities.

In an interview conducted in 1999 to 2000 showed that about 55% of people aged 18 years and over participate actively in sports. This rate has been on the rise due to the fact that people have realized the need to involve themselves in physical activities for health benefits. In addition, the interview showed that males had a higher rate of participation than women. The rate of participation was high for the age between 18 and 24. This was about 74%. However, this rate has declined with time as one’s ages (Cockburn, & Adamson, 1999. This is true because, at the age of 65, the number of people who participate in physical activities were about 33%. Australians participate in physical activities that highly depend on the ability of individuals to utilize his or her leisure time effectively.

Based on standardized results, it was found out that age and sex are two factors that highly determine the rate at which people engage in physical activities (Cockburn, & Adamson, 1999). Taking into account that a highest rate of about 63.8% participate in recreational physical activities, it is therefore possible that disorders that result from lack of physical activities have reduced. However, some areas have recorded lowest arte at participation into physical activities. For instance, southern Australia has about 51.1% while the Northern territory has higher of about 51.2%. The research further stipulates that for every three people in a group of ten who are about 18 years and have the tendency to be more active (Browning & Osborne, 1998). However, there has been a steady increase in the number of people who are undertaking physical activities from 1996 to date.

The research further shows that both the Australian capital and the Northern territory have a large number of young populations. However, the Southern Australia and the Tasmania are said to have a large number of aged persons (Bath & Morgan, 1998). Therefore as expected, these areas have smaller number of people who are engaged in physical activities. Furthermore, a higher percentage of females are concentrated in the Northern territory. This has contributed to the lower rate of people involved in physical activities since the number of females who undertake physical activity is lower than that of men.

Low participation has serious consequences on the socio-economic status of a given country. This has been observed in areas where there is high mortality rate. In this context, high mortality rate has been brought about by lack of physical exercise leading to development of various disorders in the society resulting in increased deaths (Zimmet & Salmon, 2003).  In these areas, the birth rate is also likely to be low. Low participation also leads to increased cost of health care in the part of government. People are likely to develop myriad diseases something that increases government expenditure. Notably, some of these disorders are prevented by regular physical exercises. It has been observed that greater participation in physical activities has various benefits both to the government as well as to individuals. Moreover, when people are health, they contribute positively to the socio-economy. This leads to increased production (Browning & Osborne, 1998). Greater participation also leads to increased recreational activities that may be used as sources of revenue. In the case of formal physical activities, people may organize competitions that may attract sponsors and hence raise some money that is beneficial.

There are various policies that have been established that aims at enlightening as well as ensuring people undertake physical activities. These policies are implemented with the main aim being to increase participation in physical activities (Cooper & Gibbons 1989). These policies include: first, people who are in busy schedule are required to take about 20 to 40 hours per week and using their leisure time to engage in recreational physical activities. Employers are required by this policy to ensure that they give their employees enough free time that will enable them to set part of their time in physical activities. This helps in reduction of disorders that may result from lack of sufficient physical activities (Bauman & Owen 1999). Public health nutrition is another important policy that has been put in place to ensure that people are able to take the right diet that will help them to undertake physical activities. Australian Sports Commission and the Recreation as well as Sport Industry Statistics Group are some of the agencies that are entitled in governing some of the physical events.

In conclusion, participation in physical activities is important. Most Australians have risen to the occasion that aims at reducing cases where people are suffering from diseases that could have been prevented. As analyzed in various reports about 50% undertake physical activities at least twice per week. However, a lot needs to be done to make recreational physical activities a lifestyle. This will go along way in promoting socio-economic activities in Australia.

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