La Trobe
1155591_Hassett,L_2021.pdf (459.3 kB)
Download file

Comparisons of leisure-Time physical activity participation by adults with and without a disability: Results of an Australian cross-sectional national survey

Download (459.3 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 10.03.2021, 00:23 authored by L Hassett, Nora ShieldsNora Shields, J Cole, K Owen, C Sherrington
© Objectives The objective of this study was to describe and compare the amount and type of leisure-Time physical activity, and motivations and barriers to participation among adults with and without a disability. Methods Analysis of deidentified data from an Australian cross-sectional national telephone-based survey (October 2015 to June 2018) of sport and physical recreation participation over the previous 12 months, and barriers and motivations to participation. Descriptive statistics (incorporating weighted proportions), χ 2 tests and regression analyses were conducted to describe aspects of participation and compare those with and without self-reported disability. Results Of the 54 343 adults surveyed, 15% reported a disability. Adults with a disability were half as likely to meet physical activity guidelines through sport and/or physical recreation than adults without a disability (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.51 to 0.57). A greater proportion of adults with a disability participated in physical recreation only (40% vs 31%; χ 2 =187; p<0.001), whereas a greater proportion of adults without a disability participated in sport only (20% vs 12%; χ 2 =188; p<0.001). Adults with a disability were more motivated than adults without a disability to try a new activity for physical health or fitness benefits (55% vs 46%; χ 2 =36; p<0.001). The most reported barrier to participation for adults with a disability not currently participating in sport and/or physical recreation was poor health or injury (62%), whereas for adults without a disability it was lack of time/too many other commitments (43%). Conclusion Adults with a disability are less physically active and report different physical activity profiles and barriers to being active than adults without a disability. Urgent action is required to address this discrepancy.


Authors LH and CS receive salary funding from Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Fellowships (LH, APP1168274; CS, APP1079267).


Publication Date



BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine





Article Number





BMJ Publishing Group



Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.