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Survey results confirm that over the past decade there has been a significant decline in physical activity levels in the Waikato region.

This indicator is the percentage of people living in the Waikato region who reported that they were physically active on five or more days of the past seven days. It uses data from the Quality of Life Survey.

Why is this indicator important?

Participation in sport and active leisure has positive benefits for people’s physical fitness and mental wellbeing, as well as being a source of enjoyment and entertainment. According to the New Zealand Heart Foundation, an active lifestyle can help reduce the risk of preventable diseases, including coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers. It can also provide benefits for people and the wider community through improved mental health, community life, social wellbeing and community safety.

Measuring people’s reported levels of physical activity and taking account of their impact upon these other areas can also help us to plan for current and future support systems and other resources within in our region.

Physical activity

Physical activity 2019


Year Frequency of doing physical activity in past week - five or more days
2006 61
2016 47
2018 40


What is this indicator telling us?

  • Compared to 2006, Waikato regional survey respondents in 2018 were less likely to report having been physically activity on five or more of the past seven days (40% in 2018 compared to 61% in 2006).
  • Across the Waikato region in 2018:
    • The percentage of people who reported having been physically activity on five or more of the past seven days ranged from 31% in Waitomo district to 53% in Rotorua district
    • In terms of statistically significant results, respondents from Waipa district (49%) and Rotorua district (53%) were more likely to report having been physically activity on five or more of the past seven days
    • Male respondents were more likely to report having been physically activity on five or more of the past seven days (45%); and female respondents were less likely (36%)
    • Respondents who identified with the New Zealand European/ Other ethnic group were more likely to report having been physically active on five or more of the last seven days (42%)
  • New Zealand Health Survey results also show a decline in physical activity levels in the Waikato DHB region between 2006/07 and 2014-17.
  • According to the Active New Zealand Survey 2013/14, 63 per cent of adults in the Waikato region take part in sport and recreation in any given week – significantly below the New Zealand average of 74 per cent. Only 50 per cent of Waikato survey respondents said they were interested in trying new or doing more sport and recreation activities, lower than every other region and well below the national average of 66 per cent.
  • Physical inactivity was estimated in 2013 to cost the Waikato regional economy $106 million every year. Due to increasing health costs and prevalence of obesity, this figure is likely to be substantially higher in today’s terms.

Check out related information on our website and other organisations’ websites listed on our Waikato Progress Indicators’ Useful Links page.

Click here to view report cards



Physical activity is measured as the percentage of respondents who reported that they were physical activity on five or more of the past seven days. Data are from the Quality of Life Survey.

Respondents are asked: ‘Thinking about ALL your physical activities (including any physical tasks you might do at work, doing housework or gardening, travelling from place to place or playing sports), on how many of the last 7 days were you active? By “active” we mean doing 15 minutes or more of vigorous activity, which makes you breathe a lot harder than normal, “huff and puff” like running, OR 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity which makes you breathe harder than normal, but only a little, like brisk walking. Other examples of moderate physical activity include carrying light loads, cycling at a regular pace, recreational swimming and gardening.’

Update details: Waikato regional results are available for 2006, 2016 and 2018.

Customised data request requirements: Quality of Life data.


Territorial Authority (TA) disaggregation: Yes

Other regions: Yes

New Zealand: No (but a seven cities average is available)

Other countries/ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): No