Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) fact sheet

This fact sheet provides some background information and suggestions to support clubs and activity providers to successfully reach culturally and linguistically diverse people within Moreland. 

There is strong evidence that people born overseas are more likely to have a sedentary lifestyle or low exercise levels. Regular participation in non-organised physical activity is less common among those who speak a non-european language at home.

How to reach CALD population

  • Ensure messages use simple words and pictures that reflect their own culture.  Use images to get the message across. Some words and phrases and most often slogans translate poorly and lead to misunderstandings.
  • CALD people tend to see physical activity as a low priority against employment and education needs, so messages need to convey how physical activity can help them achieve other priorities.
  • CALD people are looking for safe environments that provide opportunities for physical and social activity that respect their cultural beliefs.
  • Provision of translated information and promotional material to: portray sport as culturally diverse and welcoming, reinforce the health benefits of exercise and explain what participating in sport involves.
  • Community leaders, health professionals, and diverse ambassadors can be influential in encouraging participation.

What CALD people want

  • for newly-arrived young people, participating in sport can provide support and assist in their settlement
  • provision of free or low cost activities
  • culturally diverse groups and activities; inclusive and welcoming environment; a social environment; benefits in health and social connections
  • other people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds involved in the planning and implementation of programs and activities
  • opportunity to be entertained and meet new people, and
  • education or information awareness programs targeting specific groups within the CALD community.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse People profile

Just under half the Moreland population (48.6 per cent) had both parents born overseas which is significantly higher than the Melbourne average (43 per cent).

Culturally and linguistically diverse population as a group represents communities of people who were born overseas or who are Australian born with one or both parents or grandparents born overseas. This term refers to people who are from countries in which the main language spoken is not English.

CALD people may be referred to as people who are migrants, newly arrived refugees. CALD people can be young, old, married, unmarried or part of a family. One third (33.8 per cent) of the Moreland residents are born overseas. This equates to some 49,700 people in 2011.

There is growing data indicating that CALD communities are over represented in some areas of chronic disease.

There is strong evidence that people born overseas are more likely to have a sedentary lifestyle or low exercise levels

There are a number of likely participation barriers faced by families. Whilst barriers vary for different people, some common barriers reported are:

The main countries of birth of current residents in Moreland other than Australia are in line with traditional migrant groups (Italy, Greece, and the United Kingdom).

However, the main countries of birth of new arrivals to the area differ from these traditional groups. A high proportion of new arrivals to Moreland are born in India, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Iraq. 

Participation in regular physical activity has a wide range of health and well being benefits for culturally and linguistically diverse people, as it does for all groups, including physical, functional, psychological and social benefits and contributes to disease prevention.

The messages need to portray sport and physical activity as culturally diverse and welcoming. The social connections and health benefits of physical activity need to be reinforced.

Likely barriers faced by CALD population

There are a number of likely participation barriers faced by culturally and linguistically diverse. Whilst barriers vary for different people, some common barriers reported are:

  • language and lack of well translated information
  • competing cultural and religious expectations
  • competing family and home responsibilities
  • lack of transport and knowledge of how to get around
  • sport and physical activity are a low priority when seeking to improve life opportunities
  • sport not a priority for women
  • cost – especially for newly arrived migrants. Some groups have higher than average rates of unemployment and are on lower incomes, which affect their ability to pay for activities
  • lack of confidence and self assurance
  • lack of parental support or encouragement of young people or women to participate, and
  • cultural and religious barriers – inappropriate dress codes and lack of safe, comfortable and accessible facilities.

While culturally and diverse people may experience barriers, it is important to understand that when different demographic influences collide that severe disadvantage is likely to be experienced.

For instance, if they are non-English speaking woman, with low income, and has a disability etc. then they are likely to experience greater barriers to participation.

What you can do

  • make sure there are opportunities to socialise and mix i.e. organising or participating in ethnic festivals and events
  • make sure there is availability of women-only facilities i.e. learn to swim programs for Islamic women during ‘women-only’ pool sessions
  • do not presume that everyone has a good level of knowledge about the activity. Concepts such as ‘swimming between the flags’ and sports such as ‘football’ could be totally unfamiliar to newly arrived people.
  • provision of free or low cost activities
  • check out the level of English that is spoken and understood by the group. Ask for ideas from participants about the meaning of key terms and concepts (in a non-threatening or competitive way)
  • make sure promotional and program material is available in the relevant language for the target group. e.g. A walking program for Vietnamese Senior Citizens
  • make sure activities are culturally sensitive and have links with other community organisations.


CALD fact sheet (PDF 687Kb)