Building healthier communities

The advantages of an active lifestyle are reflected in better physical and mental health.

A life and cost-saver

Physical activity is an important factor in maintaining good overall health and wellbeing, physically and mentally. Apart from the personal pay-off, the community also benefits economically, by less demand on health services.

Worldwide, physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, contributing to six per cent of deaths, and is second only to tobacco smoking as a leading modifiable health risk factor contributing to the burden of disease and injury in Australia. It is the fifth leading risk factor for men and the third leading risk factor for women” (ABS, 2011).

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Physical inactivity is estimated to be responsible for 16,178 premature deaths per year in Australia and corresponds to a direct loss of 1.8 working days per average Australian worker per year, or an annual cost of $458 per employee (Medibank, 2008). That’s a doubling of the rate in six years (Bauman, et al, 2002).

Participation in physical activity provides clear benefits in the five Australian national health priorities:

  • Cardiovascular disease prevention
  • Diabetes prevention and control
  • Primary prevention of some cancer
  • Injury prevention
  • Promoting mental health.

Physical activity can contribute to higher levels of self-esteem, motivation and self-worth. It can contribute to the prevention of obesity, relieve symptoms of arthritis and positively influence the immune system. It helps people improve and maintain cognitive abilities into older age, and may prevent the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011). Physical Activity in Australia: A Snapshot, 2007-08.
  2. Bauman, A., et al. (2002). Getting Australia active:  towards better practice for the promotion of physical activity. Melbourne:  National Australia Health Partnership.
  3. Medibank (2008), The cost of physical inactivity, Medibank Private, Sydney.
Sport and recreation builds stronger, healthier, happier and safer communities.
Aboriginal netballers at NAIDOC Netball Carnival