Physical activity of young people in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Region: An exploratory study


Dr Rebecca Abbott, School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, 4072, Australia. Email:


Objective: The present study explored the practices of, and perceived barriers to, physical activity of young people living in remote communities in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area of Far North Queensland.

Design and setting: A cross-sectional survey exploring physical activity practices of children attending primary and secondary schools in two communities in the Torres Strait, Far North Queensland.

Participants: A total of 367 primary and secondary school-aged children (aged 9–16 years).

Main outcome measures: Only 50% of the children reported being active for more than 30 min a day and approximately 25% of both primary and high school children surveyed were ‘pretty much active only at week-ends’. The major barriers cited to being active were related to the climate, lack of equipment and child-specific activities and low self-perception of ability.

Conclusions: A large proportion of school students in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area reported low levels of physical activity. The main barriers cited to being active suggest that structural and family-based strategies are required to help young people, especially girls, to engage in more physical activity. There is also a need for skills and confidence-building activities delivered in a non-competitive environment for those who feel that they lack the necessary skills to participate fully.