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SPARC Trends in Participation in Sport and Active Leisure 1997 - 2001

Older adults

  • Since 1997, there has been a significant increase in the overall proportion of adults aged 55 years or over who are active, from 69% in 1997 to 75% in 2001, but the change has been greater for women than for men.
  • The proportion of older men who are active has risen from 72% to 74%, but the proportion of older women who are active has risen significantly over this period, from 67% to 75%. These changes have been largely due to significant reductions in the overall proportions of older adults that are sedentary (from 14% in 1999 to 11% in 2001) and relatively inactive (from 19% in 1997 to 15% in 2001), reflected also among older women, and the increase among older women who are highly active, from 52% in 1997 to 58% in 2001.
  • Most of the significant changes in activity levels have occurred within the 65-74 year old age group of older adults, with the proportion that is active increasing from 70% in 1997 to 83% in 2001. This increase has been reflected in significant reductions in the proportions that are sedentary (from 11% to 6%) and relatively inactive (from 19% to 12%), and an increase in the proportion that is highly active, from 60% to 72% over the period from 1997 to 2001.
  • Older adults in the 75+ age group have also experienced a significant increase in the proportion that is relatively active, from 11% in 1997 to 19% in 2001, with corresponding decreases (albeit not significant) in the proportions that are inactive.