NSW Leading The Way In Physical Activity Trends

MINISTER FOR HEALTH
 
06 February 2007

NSW leading the way in physical activity trends

 

A new report shows NSW is the only state in Australia to have recorded a sustained increase in physical activity among adults, Minister for Health, John Hatzistergos announced today.

The report, Trends in population levels of sufficient physical activity in NSW, tracks changes in physical activity participation between 1998 and 2005 - including analysis of walking, moderate and vigorous intensity activity and comparisons to data from other states and territories.

Mr Hatzistergos said "sufficient physical activity" is defined as at least 150 minutes of walking, moderate and/or vigorous activity per week over at least five occasions.

"The research shows there's been big increase in the number of over 16 year olds across NSW who are undertaking sufficient physical activity," he said.

"So, this is great news as we confront what's become an obesity epidemic."

Mr Hatzistergos said the prevalence of sufficient physical activity was approximately stable from 1998 (47.6%) to 2002 (46.5%), decreased in 2003 (44.7%), then increased markedly in 2004 (50.5%) and again in 2005 (51.3%).

There were significant increases for both males and females, in particular:

  • The 35-45 and 45-54 age groups
  • People in all Body Mass Index (BMI) categories
  • Those in the third and fourth most disadvantaged socio-economic groups
  • People living in major cities; and
  • People in three Area Health Services - Sydney South West, Sydney West and Northern Sydney Central Coast.

The report showed a major contributor to the increase in physical activity was walking - the average time per week spent walking increased across nearly all demographic groups between 1998 and 2004, with this change maintained in 2005.

Mr Hatzistergos released the research today at the launch of the 2007 season of the lunchtime corporate sports competition, NIB Lunchtime Legends, along with Footy Show panellist and NIB Ambassador Paul Harragon, NIB Chief Executive Officer Mark Fitzgibbon and Sporting Spectrum Managing Director Chris Robb.

NIB Lunchtime Legends, owned and operated by Sporting Spectrum since 1992, provides busy professional people with an opportunity to participate in an organised sporting activity during their lunch break.

"We all need to get out and do more, but unfortunately lack of regular exercise has become a by-product of our busy lives," Mr Hatzistergos said.

"That's why competitions such as NIB Lunchtime Legends are a fantastic opportunity for professionals to make exercise a regular part of their working week."

Mr Hatzistergos said research from the new report will help inform future strategies of the NSW Government's Live Life Well campaign, aimed at helping the community to lead healthier lifestyles and avoid ill health.

"I am still a concern that just under half the NSW population is still not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity," he said.

"The report shows we're making real progress in tackling obesity, but there's still more work to be done."

 


 

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