ABS: Couch potato numbers growing

There has been a decrease in the number of Australians participating in sport and physical recreation, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Overall, 60 per cent of Australians aged 15 years and over participated in sport and physical recreation in 2013-14, compared with 65 per cent in 2011-12.

The highest participation rate for sport and physical recreation in 2013-14 was in the Australian Capital Territory (73 per cent). Queensland recorded the lowest participation rate with 54 per cent.

Walking for exercise is still the most popular activity, with 3.5 million people walking in 2013-14, a significant drop from 2011-12.

However this remains the exercise of choice for females in 2013-14, while the most popular activity for males was fitness/gym.

There has also been a drop in the proportion of people undertaking other activities such as swimming and cycling.

The proportion of Australians playing tennis fell from 4.2 per cent in 2011-12 to 3.0 percent in 2013-14.

There were also falls in participation in other sports such as golf and cricket.

Of the Australian population aged 15 years and over, an estimated 60 percent (11.1 million people) reported that they had participated in sport and physical recreation at least once during the previous 12 months in 2013-14, compared with 65 percent in 2011-12.

Participation generally decreased with age. People aged 15-17 years reported the highest participation rate in sport and physical recreation (74 percent), while people aged 65 years and over had the lowest (47 percent).

Male and female participation rates were similar, except in the 25-34 age group where participation rates were higher for males (67 percent) than females (61percent).

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