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Page updated: 13 April 2012

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Updated: 13 April 2012



Appendix of Active Living for All: A Framework for Physical Activity in Western Australia 2012 - 2016.

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Appendix A – National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians

Regular physical activity has many health benefits and plays an important role in promoting healthy weight. It can help prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, and also improve psychological well-being. The National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians developed by the Department of Health and Ageing, outline the minimum levels of physical activity required to gain a health benefit and ways to incorporate incidental physical activity into everyday life.

Children 0-5 years

Being physically active every day is important for the healthy growth and development of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

  • For infants (birth to one year) physical activity – particularly supervised floor-based play in safe environments – should be encouraged from birth.
    Before infants begin to crawl, encourage them to be physically active by reaching and grasping, pulling and pushing, moving their head, body and limbs during daily routines, and during supervised floor play, including tummy time. Once infants are mobile, encourage them to be as active as possible in a safe, supervised and nurturing play environment.
  • Toddlers (1 to 3 years) & Pre-schoolers (3 to 5 years) should be physically active every day for at least three hours, spread throughout the day.
    Young children don’t need to do their three hours of physical activity all at once. It can be accumulated throughout the day and can include light activity like standing up, moving around and playing as well as more vigorous activity like running and jumping. Active play is the best way for young children to be physically active.
  • Children younger than 2 years of age should not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games) and for children 2 to 5 years of age these activities should be limited to less than one hour per day.

Television, DVDs and playing computer games usually involve sitting for long periods – time which could be spent playing active games or interacting with others.

  • Infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers should not be sedentary, restrained, or kept inactive, for more than one hour at a time, with the exception of sleeping.

All children need some ‘down time’ but they are not naturally inactive for long periods of time. Sitting in strollers, highchairs and car seats (restrained) for long periods isn’t good for children’s health and development. Try to take regular breaks on long car trips and walk or pedal for short trips when you can.

5-12 year olds

A combination of moderate and vigorous activities for at least 60 minutes a day is recommended.

  • Examples of moderate activities are a brisk walk, a bike ride or any sort of active play.
  • More vigorous activities will make kids “huff and puff” and include organised sports such as football and netball, as well as activities such as ballet, running and swimming laps.
  • Children typically accumulate activity in intermittent bursts ranging from a few seconds to several minutes, so any sort of active play will usually include some vigorous activity.
  • Most importantly, kids need the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that are fun and suit their interests, skills and abilities. Variety will also offer your child a range of health benefits, experiences and challenges.
  • Children shouldn’t spend more than two hours a day using electronic media for entertainment (e.g. computer games, TV, internet), particularly during daylight hours.

12-18 year olds

At least 60 minutes of physical activity every day is recommended. This can be built up throughout the day with a variety of activities. Physical activity should be done at moderate to vigorous intensity. Try to be active in as many ways as possible. Variety is important in providing a range of fun experiences and challenges and provides an opportunity to learn new skills. Make the most of each activity in your day. For example, you can walk the dog and replace short car trips with a walk or bike ride. There are heaps of fun ways to do it:

  • Moderate activities like brisk walking, bike riding with friends, skateboarding and dancing.
  • Vigorous activities such as football, netball, soccer, running, swimming laps or training for sport.
  • Vigorous activities are those that make you “huff and puff”. For additional health benefits, try to include 20 minutes or more of vigorous activity at least three to four days a week.


There are four steps for better health for Australian adults. Together, steps 1-3 recommend the minimum amount of physical activity you need to do to enhance your health. They are not intended for high-level fitness, sports training or weight loss. To achieve best results, try to carry out all three steps and combine an active lifestyle with healthy eating. Step 4 is for those who are able, and wish, to achieve greater health and fitness benefits.

  1. Step 1 – Think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience. Where any form of movement of the body is seen as an opportunity for improving health, not as a time-wasting inconvenience.
  2. Step 2 – Be active every day in as many ways as you can. Make a habit of walking or cycling instead of using the car, or do things yourself instead of using labour-saving machines.
  3. Step 3 – Put together at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, day. You can accumulate your 30 minutes (or more) throughout the day by combining a few shorter sessions of activity of around 10 to 15 minutes each.
  4. Step 4 – If you can, also enjoy some regular, vigorous activity for extra health and fitness. This step does not replace Steps 1-3. Rather it adds an extra level for those who are able, and wish, to achieve greater health and fitness benefits.

Older Australians

It’s never too late to start becoming physically active, and to feel the associated benefits. “Too old” or “too frail” are not of themselves reasons for an older person not to undertake physical activity. Most physical activities can be adjusted to accommodate older people with a range of abilities and health problems, including those living in residential care facilities. There are five physical activity recommendations for older Australians.

  • Older people should do some form of physical activity, no matter what their age, weight, health problems or abilities.
  • Older people should be active every day in as many ways as possible, doing a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.
  • Older people should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
  • Older people who have stopped physical activity, or who are starting a new physical activity, should start at a level that is easily manageable and gradually build up the recommended amount, type and frequency of activity.
  • Older people who continue to enjoy a lifetime of vigorous physical activity should carry on doing so in a manner suited to their capability into later life, provided recommended safety procedures and guidelines are adhered to.


Appendix B – Glossary and Definitions




the degree to which the greatest number of people have access to a location, facility, program, open space, and cycle and walk networks.

active living

incorporating physical activity into daily routines.

active transport / travel / commuting

walking, cycling and public transport to get from one location to another for a particular purpose, for example, for a trip to the shops.


an obstacle that prevents someone from accessing a service, facility or program and can include physical barriers as well as attitudinal, social and geographical.

body mass / size

a measurement often used to indicate weight and obesity.

built environment

man-made environment including buildings, streets, and other man-made structures.

compact developments

uses less land than traditional developments.

conducive environments

physical characteristics that support and enable physical activity e.g. environments conducive to walking or cycling etc.

connected communities

neighbourhoods with good street networks providing direct routes.


refers to the levels of population in a particular place.

incidental activity

includes active play and recreation, for example walking the dog, swimming, walking and cycling for recreation.

mixed land-use

includes a mixture of complementary land uses.

moderate-intensity exercise

exercise that increases heart rate and breathing rate.


regular data collection activities that collect an in-depth snapshot of behaviours (e.g. physical activity, sedentary behaviour) or measures (e.g. body size, daily steps) in a population.

natural environment

environments created by nature.

non-communicable diseases

a non-infectious chronic health condition, usually developing over a significant period of time, that can cause death, dysfunction or impaired quality of life.

organised sport and recreation

involves participation in fixtured sporting events or activities which require the supervision or expertise of an instructor e.g. aerobics etc.

physical activity

any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure.

physical education

the teaching of skills necessary to perform a variety of physical activities, maintain fitness and make decisions about engaging in physical activity as part of a healthy active lifestyle.

public open space

is a social space such as a park or town square that refers to land reserved for the purpose of structured and unstructured sport, recreation and social activities.


number or proportion of individuals in a community with a given condition and is usually expressed as a percentage.

quality of life

ability to enjoy normal life activities.


an activity of leisure for free time often done for enjoyment and can be considered healthy, fun and social.

risk factor

something can increase a person’s chances of developing a disease.

sedentary lifestyle

little or no physical activity incorporated into everyday life.

strength / resistance training

exercises that work specific muscles, often in isolation, while holding a dumbbell for example.


ongoing data collection to provide trend data and document changes over time.

urbanisation / sprawl

the spread of urban areas outwards of a city into its outskirts and into rural lands.

vigorous intensity

exercise that increases heart rate substantially, breathing rapidly and are likely to be sweating.

walkability / bikeability

a guide to how friendly an area is to walk or cycle e.g. quality of paths, safety etc.

Appendix C – References

1 World Health Organization. (n.d.) Retrieved on the 08/11/2011, from

2 Department of Health and Ageing, (2010). National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians. Retrieved on the 08/11/2011, from Australian Government.

3 Armstrong T, Bauman A & Davies J (2000). Physical activity patterns of Australian adults. Cat. no. CVD 10. Canberra: AIHW.

4 Active Living Resource Center. (n.d.) Retrieved on the 15/11/2011, from”principles”.

5 World Health Organization, (2010). Global health risks: mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks. Geneva. Geneva: WHO Press. p.10.

6 World Health Organization, (2008). 2008-2013 Action Plan for the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases. Geneva: WHO Press. p.20.

7 Medibank Private, (2008). The cost of physical inactivity. Australia: Medibank Private Publications. p.7.

8 ibid, p.9.

9 Trust for America’s Health, (2009). Prevention for a Healthier America. Retrieved on the 15/11/2011, from p.3.

10 Rosenberg M, Mills C, McCormack G, Martin K, Grove B, Pratt S and Braham R (2010). Physical Activity Levels of Western Australian Adults 2009: Findings from the Physical Activity Taskforce Adult Physical Activity Survey. Health Promotion Evaluation Unit, The University of Western Australia, Perth.

11 Martin K, Rosenberg M, Miller M, French S, McCormack G, Bull F, Giles-Corti B, Pratt, S (2010). Move and Munch Final Report. Trends in physical activity, nutrition and body size in Western Australian children and adolescents: the Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (CAPANS) 2008. Perth, Western Australia: Western Australian Government.

12 WA Office of Multicultural Interests. (n.d.) Retrieved on the 16/11/2011, from Perth, Western Australia: Western Australian Government.

13 Australian Bureau of Statistics, (2008). Those participating in sport or physical activities. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Social Survey 2008.

14 WA Office of Multicultural Interests. (n.d.) Retrieved on the 16/11/2011, from Perth, Western Australia: Western Australian Government.

15 ibid.

16 Martin K, Rosenberg M, Miller M, French S, McCormack G, Bull F, Giles-Corti B, Pratt, S (2010). Move and Munch Final Report. Trends in physical activity, nutrition and body size in Western Australian children and adolescents: the Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (CAPANS) 2008. Perth, Western Australia: Western Australian Government.

17 Australian Bureau of Statistics, (2011). Australian Social Trends: Sport and Physical Recreation – June 2011. Levels of participation in sport and recreation.

18  Department of Transport (formerly Department of Planning and Infrastructure). Perth and Regions Travel Survey (PARTS) 2002-2006.  Perth, Western Australia: Western Australian Government.

19  Department of Sport and Recreation WA, (2008). Benefits of Physical Activity: facts and stats. Perth, Western Australia: Western Australian Government.

20 Giles-Corti B, Kelty S, Zubrick S and Villanueva K (2009). How important is the built environment? Centre for the Built Environment and Health, UWA, Centre for Developmental Health, Curtin University and Telethon Institute. 


© Government of Western Australia 2011

There is no objection to this publication being copied in whole or in part, provided there is due acknowledgement of any material quoted from the publication.

ISBN: 978-1-921648-25-0


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