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Racial, Ethnic and Gender Differences in Physical Activity

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  • Henry Saffer
  • Dhaval M. Dave
  • Michael Grossman

Abstract

This study examines racial, ethnic and gender differentials in physical activity. Individuals engage in physical activity during leisure-time and also during in many other activities such as walking to work, home maintenance, shopping and child care. Physical activity also occurs on the job is this is referred to as work physical activity. Prior studies have shown that non-work physical activity has a positive impact on health while work physical activity has a negative impact on health. Many prior studies have relied primarily on leisure-time physical activity, which typically constitutes only about 10% of non-work physical activity and does not capture specific information on the intensity or duration of the activity. This study addresses these limitations by constructing measures of physical activity from the American Time Use Surveys, which are all-inclusive and capture the duration of each activity combined with its intensity based on the Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET). Non-work physical activity tends to be significantly lower for Blacks, Hispanics, other racial groups than for Whites and lower for males than for females. These adjusted differentials are consistent with racial, ethnic and gender differentials in health. About 25-46% of the differentials in non-work physical activity can be attributed to differences in education, socio-economic status, proxies for time constraints, and locational attributes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17413.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Publication status: published as Henry Saffer & Dhaval Dave & Michael Grossman & Leigh Ann Leung, 2013. "Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Differences in Physical Activity," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 378 - 410.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17413

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  1. Zhenxiang Zhao & Robert Kaestner, 2009. "Effects of Urban Sprawl on Obesity," NBER Working Papers 15436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Gregory J. Colman & Dhaval M. Dave, 2011. "Exercise, Physical Activity, and Exertion over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 17406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/311 is not listed on IDEAS

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