Social Indicators Research

, Volume 119, Issue 3, pp 1379–1391 | Cite as

Make Time for Physical Activity or You May Spend More Time Sick!

Article

Abstract

This work estimates the association between various types of physical activities and physical health, mental health and health service utilization. Specifically, we consider participation in housework, manual, walking, sports/exercise and total physical activities to a moderate level. We view this as an important contribution given that governments usually recommend a total level of activity that their citizens should achieve to be healthy, rather than a particular activity per se. Our results suggest that participation in any of these activities predicts a lower probability of poor health roughly to the same level. For mental health, our estimates highlight that those who participate in (and do more of) any activity have better mental health when compared to those who do not. The associations are higher for women. The associations are also higher for manual activities and sports/exercise when compared to other activities. The analysis also reveals some lower utilization of in-patient, out-patient visits and GP services among individuals who are moderately physically active.

Keywords

Physical activity Mental health Physical health Health service utilization 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social PolicyLondon School of EconomicsLondonUK
  2. 2.School of EconomicsUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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