Gender balance in sport vital to improving public health
Increasing women's participation in sport is important for
improving physical health globally, but also offers significant
benefits for mental, social, political and economic health.
That observation has been made by three University of
Queensland School of Human Movement and Nutrition
Sciences researchers, led by Professor Wendy
"Of the 146 countries for which we have data, 137 have a male
population which is more active than the female population,"
Professor Brown said.
"What is not considered though is that men are much more likely
to experience activity in a leisure setting, whereas women will
experience activity through occupational or family chores.
"Gender differences are not confined solely to low and middle
"Some of the highest levels of physical inactivity for women
occur in affluent Middle Eastern countries."
Professor Brown's commentary for leading medical journal
The Lancet was made with UQ colleagues
Dr Tracy Kolbe-Alexander and Gregore Mielke, a visiting
PhD Scholar from Brazil.
They noted that the 2012 London Olympic Games was the first
Olympics to have women competing for every nation represented.
The percentage of total athletes who were female in London was
44.2 per cent, a marked improvement on the 2.2 per cent of
Olympians who were female prior to 1920.
Australia woke to news on Wednesday that its 2016 Olympic squad
would be more than 50 per cent female for the first time,
following a late call-up for the women's rowing eight crew.
"However, even in high-income countries where there are fewer
cultural barriers to female participation, there are still
surprisingly high differences," Professor Brown said.
"In Australia women are still about 30 per cent less likely than
men to meet physical activity guidelines."
Earlier this year the Australian Government launched the
'Girls make your move' campaign, to encourage greater
participation of girls and women in sport.
The Lancet has issued four
major research publications on physical inactivity to
coincide with the Rio de Janeiro Olympics - and two of the papers
feature UQ researchers.
Professor Brown also contributed to a study on the amount of
physical exercise needed to offset the effects of prolonged
Dr Kolbe-Alexander contributed to research on the global
economic cost of non-communicable diseases from
Media: Professor Wendy Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
, +61 0401 182
287; Robert Burgin at UQ
+61 7 3346 3035, + 61 0448 410 364.