Racial, Ethnic and Gender Differences in Physical Activity

43 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2011

See all articles by Henry Saffer

Henry Saffer

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

Michael Grossman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NY Office; CUNY The Graduate Center - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 2011

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.

Suggested Citation

Saffer, Henry and Dave, Dhaval and Grossman, Michael, Racial, Ethnic and Gender Differences in Physical Activity (September 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17413. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1931185

Henry Saffer (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office ( email )

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Dhaval Dave

Bentley University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - NY Office

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Michael Grossman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NY Office ( email )

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CUNY The Graduate Center - Department of Economics ( email )

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212-817-7959 (Phone)
212-817-1597 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://mgrossman.ws.gc.cuny.edu

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