In 201718, 9.6 million Australian adults (53.7% of the adult population) were insufficiently active (Chart 1).12 Females were marginally more likely to be insufficiently active than males (54.6% compared with 52.8%).
Levels of insufficient physical activity tended to increase with age, with the highest proportion presenting in people aged 75 years and over (70.9%) (Chart 1).12
In 2020-21, 75.5% of Australians aged 18-64 years had less than the recommended weekly physical activity (including workplace as well as other physical activity).10, 11
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
In 2012-13, 64.4% of adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults were insufficiently active, with higher proportions of insufficiently active occurring among females than males (67.5% compared with 61.2%) (Chart 2).16
After adjusting for differences in age structure between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, Indigenous Australians were more likely to be insufficiently active than their non-Indigenous counterparts (64.4% compared with 55.6%) (Chart 3).12 While Indigenous females were more likely to be insufficiently active than their non-Indigenous counterparts, and a similar pattern was observed for males, the difference for males was comparatively small and attributable to chance.
In 2020-21, 88.4% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders aged over 18 years did not meet physical activity levels specified as sufficient in physical activity guidelines.13
Remoteness and socioeconomic disadvantage
In 2017-18 levels of insufficient physical activity varied according to remoteness and level of socioeconomic disadvantage. After adjusting for differences in age structure across sub-populations, adults in Inner Regional (58.7%), and Outer Regional and Remote Australia (62.8%) were more likely to be insufficiently active than those living in Major Cities (51.3%) (Chart 4).11 This was so for both males (63.1% in Outer and remote compared with 49.5% in Major cities) and females (62.1% compared with 53.0%). Among residents of Major Cities, insufficient physical activity was more common among females than males (53.0% compared with 49.5%)Insufficient activity was more common among residents of Inner Regional areas at 57% in females vs 60% in males.
A social gradient of insufficient physical activity was evident in 2017-18. After adjusting for differences in age structure, people living in areas of most disadvantage (64.8%) were 1.5 times more likely to be insufficiently active than those living in areas of least disadvantage (42.5%) (Chart 5).12