Sport and leisure activities are vital for physical and mental health, yet two-thirds of the nation is missing out.
Statistics from the Australia’s Health Tracker by Area (AHTA) database show more than two-thirds – 67.5 per cent – of adults in the Eurobodalla reported no or low physical activity.
This is slightly above the national average of 66.3 per cent.
Data from AHTA confirmed poorer communities and regional/rural communities had poorer health – more than three-quarters of adults in mid-west Tasmania, western New South Wales, and western Victoria reported no or low physical activity – while affluent city councils reported the most active residents.
Australian Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC) director Rosemary Calder said parks, walking tracks, community sports, and active work places, schools and towns, were needed to help Australians reap the benefits of physical activity.
“Increasing your activity decreases your risks of heart attack, mental illness and cancer,” Ms Calder said.
VicHealth principal advisor Lyn Roberts said Australia needed a physical activity strategy which delivered programs and policies that supported the 34 per cent of active Aussies to stay active and the 66 per cent who were not to find a sport or activity they enjoyed.
“Investing in children’s programs – like walking and cycling to school – would enable 3.6 million school-aged children to get free physical activity every day,” Dr Roberts said.
The AHTA was developed by the AHPC at Victoria University and the Public Health Information and Development Unit at Torrens University. The April 2017 update included new data on ‘no or low physical activity’.
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