Exercise, Physical Activity, and Exertion over the Business Cycle
As economic recessions reduce employment and wages, associated shifts in time and income constraints would be expected to also impact individuals' health behaviors. Prior work has focused exclusively on recreational exercise, which typically represents only about 4% of total daily physical exertion. The general presumption in these studies is that, because exercise improves health, if unemployment increases exercise it must also improve health. Yet a person may be laid off from a physically demanding job, exercise more, and still be less physically active than when employed. Thus the relevant question is whether unemployment leads persons to become more physically active. We study this question with the American Time Use Survey (2003-2010), exploring the impact of the business cycle (and specifically the Great Recession) on individuals' exercise, other uses of time, and physical activity during the day. We also utilize more precise measures of exercise (and all other physical activities), which reflect information on the duration as well as intensity of each component activity, than has been employed in past studies. Using within-state variation in employment and unemployment, we find that recreational exercise tends to increase as employment decreases. In addition, we also find that individuals substitute into television watching, sleeping, childcare, and housework. However, this increase in exercise as well as other activities does not compensate for the decrease in work-related exertion due to job-loss. Thus total physical exertion, which prior studies have not analyzed, declines. These behavioral effects are strongest among low-educated males, which is validating given that the Great Recession led to some of the largest layoffs within the manufacturing, mining, and construction sectors. Due to the concentration of low-educated workers in boom-and-bust industries, the drop in total physical activity during recessions is especially problematic for vulnerable populations and may play a role in exacerbating the SES-health gradient during recessions. We also find some evidence of intra-household spillover effects, wherein individuals respond to shifts in spousal employment conditional on their own labor supply.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2011|
|Publication status:||published as Colman, Gregory & Dave, Dhaval, 2013. "Exercise, physical activity, and exertion over the business cycle," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 11-20.|
|Note:||EFG HE LS PE|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005.
"Healthy living in hard times,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 2003. "Healthy Living in Hard Times," NBER Working Papers 9468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Healthy Living in Hard Times," IZA Discussion Papers 711, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Petri Böckerman & Edvard Johansson & Satu Helakorpi & Ritva Prättälä & Erkki Vartiainen & Antti Uutela, 2007. "Does a slump really make you thinner? Finnish micro-level evidence 1978-2002," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 103-107.
- Böckerman, Petri & Johansson, Edvard & Helakorpi, Satu & Prättälä, Ritva & Vartiainen, Erkki & Uutela, Antti, 2004. "Does a Slump Really Make You Thinner? Finnish Micro-level Evidence 1978 -2002," Discussion Papers 928, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
- Petri Böckerman & Edvard Johansson & Satu Helakorpi & Ritva Prättälä & Erkki Vartiainen Antti Uutela, 2005. "Does a Slump Really Make You Thinner? Finnish Micro-level Evidence 1978-2002," Labor and Demography 0505011, EconWPA.
- Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2006. "Deaths rise in good economic times: Evidence from the OECD," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 298-316, December.
- Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2002. "Deaths Rise in Good Economic Times: Evidence From the OECD," IZA Discussion Papers 654, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Ulf-G. Gerdtham & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2002. "Deaths Rise in Good Economic Times: Evidence From the OECD," NBER Working Papers 9357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," NBER Working Papers 5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Athina Economou, 2008. "Are recessions harmful to health after all?," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(5), pages 368-384, September.
- Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
- 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.
- Henry Saffer & Dhaval M. Dave & Michael Grossman, 2011. "Racial, Ethnic and Gender Differences in Physical Activity," NBER Working Papers 17413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Dave, Dhaval M. & Kelly, Inas Rashad, 2012. "How does the business cycle affect eating habits?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 254-262.
- Dhaval M. Dave & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2010. "How Does the Business Cycle Affect Eating Habits?," NBER Working Papers 16638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Charles, Kerwin Kofi & DeCicca, Philip, 2008. "Local labor market fluctuations and health: Is there a connection and for whom?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1532-1550, December.
- Dhaval Dave & Robert Kaestner, 2009. "Health insurance and ex ante moral hazard: evidence from Medicare," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 367-390, December.
- Dhaval Dave & Robert Kaestner, 2006. "Health Insurance and Ex Ante Moral Hazard: Evidence from Medicare," NBER Working Papers 12764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Timothy Halliday, 2006. "The Impact of Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Income Shocks on Health Outcomes: Evidence from the PSID," Working Papers 200606, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
- Xin Xu & Robert Kaestner, 2010. "The Business Cycle and Health Behaviors," NBER Working Papers 15737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Peter Groothuis & Paul Gabriel, 2010. "Positive assortative mating and spouses as complementary factors of production: a theory of labour augmentation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(9), pages 1101-1111.
- Paul Gabriel & Peter Groothuis, 2005. "Positive Assortative Mating and Spouses as Complementary Factors of Production: A Theory of Labor Augmentation," Working Papers 05-14, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
- Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
- Neumayer, Eric, 2004. "Recessions lower (some) mortality rates:: evidence from Germany," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 1037-1047, March. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17406. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.