Physical activity and sport participation characteristics of Indigenous children registered in the Active Kids voucher program in New South Wales

Rona Macniven, Bridget C. Foley, Katherine B. Owen, John R. Evans, Adrian E. Bauman, Lindsey J. Reece*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: Investigate sociodemographic factors associated with physical activity and sport participation among Indigenous children registered in the New South Wales (NSW) government-funded Active Kids voucher program in 2018, including comparison with non-Indigenous children.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

METHODS: The Active Kids voucher program aims to support the cost of children's sport and physical activities. All children aged 5-18 years in NSW are eligible for a voucher. To register, parent/carers report child sociodemographic characteristics, physical activity, sport participation and optional height and weight. Regression models were used to determine which sociodemographic characteristics were associated with meeting physical activity guidelines and sport participation for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children.

RESULTS: Of the 671,375 children aged 5-18 years, 36,129 (5.4%) were Indigenous. More Indigenous children than non-Indigenous children met the physical activity guidelines before registering in the Active Kids program. Indigenous children had greater odds of meeting physical activity guidelines across all socio-economic quartiles. Among non-Indigenous children, odds reduced with social disadvantage. Indigenous children (38%) were less likely to participate in organised physical activity and sport sessions at least twice a week compared to non-Indigenous children (43%). Indigenous children living in major cities had higher sport participation levels compared with those living in outer regional and remote areas.

CONCLUSIONS: The Active Kids voucher program achieved population representative reach among Indigenous children, whose physical activity levels were higher than non-Indigenous children across all socioeconomic quartiles. The program has potential to supplement Indigenous children's physical activity levels using organised sessions and reduce sport drop-out among older children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1178-1184
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number12
Early online date3 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • young people
  • socioeconomic
  • pragmatic evaluation
  • Government
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • parents


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