The Economics of Participation and Time Spent in Physical Activity
This paper examines the economics of participation in physical activity by developing a consumer choice model of participation and estimating it using data drawn from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). Both emphasize that individuals face two distinct decisions: (1) should I participate; and (2) how much time should I spend participating? The results indicate that economic factors like income and opportunity cost of time are important determinants of physical activity and that physical activity is a normal good. Individual characteristics also play an important role in determining the amount of time spent in physical activity. Participation and time spent decline with age. Females, married people, households with children, blacks and hispanics all spend less time engaged in physical activity than males, single people, childless households and whites. Public policy interventions aimed at improving physical activity of Americans targeted to specific sub-populations are likely to be more effective than broad-based policies.
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