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
Chapter 4: Does Physical Exercise Affect Demand for Hospital Services? Evidence from Canadian Panel Data
4. Does physical exercise affect demand for hospital services? Evidence from Canadian panel data* Nazmi Sari INTRODUCTION 1. Recent epidemiological literature shows that regular physical activity prevents chronic diseases, improves overall health and reduces risk of premature death (for comprehensive reviews of this literature see US Department of Health and Human Services, 1996; Warburton et al., 2006). In addition to its impacts on health and healthcare utilization, physical activity is also shown to offer an increase in productivity and wages (Barron et al., 2000; Lechner, 2009) and a decrease in absenteeism (Kerr et al., 1993; Heuvel et al., 2005). In a recent review on the health benefits of physical activity, Warburton et al. (2006) conclude that regular physical activity is effective in preventing several chronic diseases, and is associated with a reduced risk of premature death. The US Surgeon General Report, a comprehensive review of the literature on effects of physical activity on health and disease, also emphasizes the positive role of physical activity on overall mortality (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). According to the report, those who are inactive, compared to the most active people, experience between a 1.2-fold to a 2-fold increased risk of dying during the follow-up interval. The report concludes that persons with moderate to high levels of physical activity have a lower mortality rate than those with sedentary habits. Owing to its health benefits, it is expected that physical exercise decreases utilization of healthcare services. Different streams of researchers examine this issue....
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