More women shunning physical exercise

December 15th, 2008 - 12:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Dec 15 (IANS) More and more women are avoiding activity, when exercise facilities are virtually available at their very doorstep, according to a study. It also revealed that one in four women did not know there was a swimming pool nearby; one in three was unaware of tennis courts and one in five did not know about a nearby gymnasium.

Deakin University health expert Kylie Ball, associate professor, said this lack of awareness could be impacting the level of physical activity undertaken by women and be putting their health at risk.

“However, the results of this study point to a lost opportunity for women to be involved in some form of exercise,” she said.

“With 42 percent of women in this study overweight or obese and 25 percent not getting enough exercise in their leisure time, it is unhealthy for them not to be taking advantage of the exercise opportunities close to home.”

Information was collected from 1,540 women across 45 Melbourne neighbourhoods about the availability of public open space, gyms/sports centres, walking tracks, swimming pools, tennis courts, squash courts and golf courses within 2 km of their homes.

The results showed that some groups of women were worse off than others when it came to identifying the facilities available, said a Deakin release.

“Younger (under 30 years) and older (over 50 years) women, women of lower income, those with low confidence in their ability to be active and those less active were the groups unable to accurately pinpoint facilities in their neighbourhood,” Ball said.

“For the over 50s this is particularly troubling since this is a group at risk of a range of chronic diseases associated with physical inactivity such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.”

The study was recently published in Preventive Medicine.

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