Physical activity by adults

Why this indicator is important

Improving health behaviours, such as stopping smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, eating well and exercising regularly, can prevent up to one third of all cancers.1

Maintaining a healthy weight helps to reduce the risk of more than 15 different cancers.2

Being physically active can help reduce the risk of breast cancer (in women after menopause), bowel and endometrial cancers.1

About this indicator

This indicator shows the proportion of adults in NSW who reported getting the recommended amount of physical activity.  

  • Between 2014 and 2019, the proportion of adults in NSW doing the recommended amount of exercise each week (150 minutes) increased by 57.1%, from 52.9% to 61.5%.
  • The proportion of adults who undertook adequate physical activity ranged from 46.2% to 72.7% across LHDs in 2019.

Note: These data were the latest available at the time they were extracted (August 2020). For the most recent population health data, visit HealthStats NSW.

Proportion of adults* who undertook adequate physical activity**, by local health district (LHD) (ranked), 2014 and 2019

N = Number of survey respondents, 2019.

* People aged 16 years and over.

** At least 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity per week, over five sessions, as per National Health and Medical Research Council Guidelines.


  1. Data source: NSW Population Health Survey (sourced from HealthStats NSW, Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health). Available at (accessed August 2020).


  1. Whiteman DC, Webb PM, Green AC, Neale RE, Fritschi L, Bain CJ, et al. Cancers in Australia in 2010 attributable to modifiable factors: summary and conclusions. Aust N Z J Public Health 2010 Oct;39(5),477–84 doi: 10.1111/1753–6405.12471.
  2. Steele CB, Thomas CC, Henley SJ, et al. Vital Signs: Trends in Incidence of Cancers Associated with Overweight and Obesity — United States, 2005–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:1052–to1058. doi: