Bicycle Network: Benchmarks
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Australia's national agency for health and welfare statistics and information.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is a Commonwealth agency that provides information and statistics on health and welfare. The Institute works with governments at all levels, universities, research centres, and non-government organisations.
The Institute collects and analyses data then provides reports that inform policy debates on health. The Institute also works on developing performance indicators for governments as well as encouraging greater adherence to standards in data collection to promote national consistency and comparability of data and reporting.
The Institute releases a flagship publication in alternative years called Australia's Health. These substantial and well-researched publications highlight the current state of play in these sectors and are an excellent resource for information on health and welfare needs and services in Australia.
The Institute says about the risks related to 'insufficient' physical activity:
Physical inactivity, defined as people undertaking 'insufficient' physical activity to achieve measurable health outcomes, is a strong risk factor for a range of diseases and conditions. It can also contribute to other risk factors such as increases in blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels and overweight and obesity.
There is strong evidence that a lack of regular physical activity is associated with an increased risk of mortality and morbidity from heart and vascular diseases, particularly coronary heart disease. There is also some association between physical inactivity and an increase in risk of some types of stroke, heart failure and peripheral vascular disease. Insufficient physical activity increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and some cancers; in particularly, an increased risk for post-menopausal breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
Physical activity has a beneficial effect on improving various aspects of health including cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal health and diabetes. Physical activity may also assist in the reduction in symptoms of depression and reduce the risks of developing some cancers, such as prostate cancer.
Physical inactivity has been ranked second only to tobacco smoking, in terms of the burden of disease and injury from risk factors in Australia.
The Institute's page on Physical Activity says:
Low levels of physical activity are a major risk factor for ill health and mortality from all causes. People who do not do sufficient physical activity have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, colon and breast cancers, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Being physically active improves mental and musculoskeletal health and reduces other risk factors such as overweight, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.