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One million more Australians into physical activity


The number of Australians taking part in regular physical activity increased by one million last year from the 2007 total, according to the Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey (ERASS) report, released recently.

Minister for Sport and Youth the Hon Kate Ellis said the latest ERASS findings showed an estimated 8.2 million Australians (almost half of the report's estimated population) aged 15 years and over were active at least three times a week, a rise from 7.1 million (43 per cent) in 2007.

Ms Ellis said that the number of Australians exercising regularly had risen by 12 percentage points since the annual study started in 2001.

'It's encouraging to see more Australians involved in sport and physical activity. These findings show regular participation increased from 37 per cent in 2001 to 49 per cent in 2008, a jump of 12 percentage points.

'This tells us we are gradually heading in the right direction, but these numbers have to improve further if Australia is to realise the health benefits of being a more active nation.

'The Australian Government is committed to improving participation levels through a number of broad and inclusive programs including Indigenous people, women, juniors, sporting clubs and people with a disability,'  said Ms Ellis.

The ERASS study found females were more likely to be involved in regular physical activity, registering 51 per cent compared with 47 per cent of males. However men were more likely to be active for longer periods.

Australia's most popular sports and physical activities included aerobics/fitness, golf, outdoor football (soccer), netball, tennis, touch football, basketball, Australian Football, swimming and outdoor cricket.

The Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey, a joint initiative of the Australian Sports Commission and state/territory sport and recreation departments, collects information on the frequency, duration, nature and type of activities that are participated in by persons aged 15 years and over for exercise, recreation and sport, excluding coaching, refereeing and being a spectator.

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