Objective: To describe physical activity participation in three Queensland regional communities.
Design: Cross-sectional mail survey of randomly selected residents, stratified by age and sex.
Setting: Esk, Mareeba and Mount Isa.
Participants: 1219 (58% women) adults, with a mean age 46.7 (standard deviation 14.7) years.
Main outcome measures: Proportion of people inactive, meeting Australian activity guidelines (a minimum of 150min week-1 and five sessions week-1) and walking a dog daily; time spent walking and cycling for transport; location and type of recreational physical activities.
Results: Overall, 18% of respondents were inactive, with the highest proportions among women (22.3%) and older adults in Mount Isa (24.3%). The proportion meeting activity guidelines was 47%, with the lowest proportion among women in Mount Isa (40.4%). Although 63% reported owning a dog, only 22% reported walking a dog daily. Few people reported walking or cycling for transport. The most common types of activities were walking, home-based exercise, running/jogging and swimming, and the most common location was at or near home.
Conclusions: Physical activity levels were lower in these regional communities than the state average. The findings indicate a need for physical activity policy and intervention strategies targeting regional and rural areas. This could focus on women and older adults, dog walking and physical activity opportunities in or near the home.