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 11: Physical Activity and Subjective Well-being: An Empirical Analysis

Georgios Kavetsos

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


Georgios Kavetsos 1. INTRODUCTION According to the European Commission, a substantial amount of premature death and avoidable illnesses in its member states can be directly attributed to two main factors: (1) unhealthy diets, and (2) sedentary lifestyles (Commission of the European Communities, 2005). The combined effect of these two pillars can lead to obesity; broadly defined as a body mass index (BMI 5 weight/height2) exceeding 30.1 Active (dynamic) physical engagement is thus one of the suggested tools to combat obesity, which in turn minimizes the probability of contracting a variety of serious diseases, such as type-II diabetes, coronary heart disease, some sorts of cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, gall bladder disease and obstructive sleep apnoea. Other measures have also been proposed, including investment in physical education and information, an obesity tax and advertising regulations. These lie outside the scope of this chapter; the interested reader can refer to relevant studies by Philipson and Posner (2008), Schroeter et al. (2008), Mazzocchi et al. (2009) and Yaniv et al. (2009). Nonetheless, wide concerns exist linking obesity to adverse psychological states and social exclusion (BHF National Centre, 2007). Additionally, beneficial mental states arguably arise through physical activity (Glenister, 1996). To some extent then, participation in some sort of physical activity promotes social cohesiveness, although it is also reasonable to assume that the latter might have an effect on participation as well. In line with this argument, this study attempts to test the relationship between individual welfare and sports participation empirically using a recent large cross-sectional...

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