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Time and Money: A New Look at Poverty and the Barriers to Physical Activity in Canada

Abstract

The relationship between time, money, and regular participation in physical activities, especially at the intensities and durations required to improve one’s health, is an important public health and social policy issue. The objective of this research is to develop a better understanding of the extent to which income poverty and time poverty act as barriers to regular participation in moderate or higher intensity physical activities. This study uses Canadian time use data collected in 2005 in order to measure income poverty, time poverty, and active living. Objective measures of physical activity engagement (participation rates, daily occurrences, and daily time budgets) are used to explore differences between the rich and poor categories of both income and time wealth. The income and time wealth categories are corroborated using subjective assessments of stress and perceived barriers to regular participation in sports. The results illustrate the multidimensional nature of poverty, but from a public health and social policy perspective, time poverty may be more important than income poverty as a barrier to regular physical activity engagement.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (PSO—Project-2008-4669) and would also thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Jamie Spinney.

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Spinney, J., Millward, H. Time and Money: A New Look at Poverty and the Barriers to Physical Activity in Canada. Soc Indic Res 99, 341–356 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-010-9585-8

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Keywords

  • Time poverty
  • Income poverty
  • Time use
  • Physical activity
  • Barriers