The Economics of Sport, Health and Happiness

The Economics of Sport, Health and Happiness

The Promotion of Well-being through Sporting Activities

New Horizons in the Economics of Sport series

Edited by Plácido Rodríguez, Stefan Késenne and Brad R. Humphreys

Including an array of distinguished contributors, this novel book fills a gap in the literature by addressing an important, yet under-researched, issue in the field of sports economics. It places great emphasis on the notion that sport is a significant component for improving the happiness, health and well-being of citizens, communities and society as a whole. In so doing, it addresses whether, in an environment of increasing pressure on public spending, governments should continue to subsidize sporting activities at the expense of other public resources.

Chapter 1: Participation in Physical Activity and Health Outcomes: Evidence from the Canadian Community Health Survey

Jane E. Ruseski and Brad R. Humphreys

Subjects: economics and finance, health policy and economics, sports, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


Jane E. Ruseski and Brad R. Humphreys INTRODUCTION 1. Lifestyle choices, more narrowly defined as health-related behaviors, are widely recognized in the epidemiological and economics literature as important non-medical determinants of health. Belloc and Breslow (1972) analysed survey data from a random sample of 7000 residents in Alameda County in 1965 and identified seven lifestyle choices that are associated with better health. These practices include eating breakfast, maintaining proper weight, not snacking between meals, never smoking cigarettes, regular physical activity, moderate or no use of alcohol, and getting seven to eight hours of sleep regularly, and are known as the ‘Alameda Seven’. The benefits of regular physical activity are well documented in the clinical and public health literature. Benefits include reduced risk of many chronic diseases, reduced stress and depression, and increased emotional wellbeing, energy level, self-confidence and satisfaction with social activity (Sherwood and Jeffery, 2000). Seven chronic diseases have been consistently associated with physical inactivity: coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, colon cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. Physically inactive people are also more likely to be obese which is itself an important risk factor for many chronic diseases, including coronary, artery disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and cancer. (See Brown et al., 2007; Katzmaryzk and Janssen, 2004; Sherwood and Jeffery, 2000; and US Department of Health and Human Resources, 1996 Warburton et al., 2006; for reviews of the literature on the effects of physical activity on health and disease.) The economic costs of physical inactivity are undoubtedly substantial...

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