Study examines impact of wealth on physical activity

Jack Woodfield
Tue, 05 Sep 2017
Study examines impact of wealth on physical activity
People who earn more money tend to exercise mainly at the weekend and avoid activity during the week, according to research.

The US study compared the income of more than 5,000 adults who had their physical activity measured using a special device.

Those who had a higher income completed 9.3 fewer minutes of light exercise and spent nearly 12 minutes longer on a daily basis being sedentary compared to those who earned less.

The results also showed those who earn less spent overall less time sitting or not moving when compared to their richer counterparts.

Lead study author Kerem Shuval, director of physical activity and nutrition research at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, said: "Meeting physical activity guidelines is important for longevity, improved quality of life, mental and cognitive health and chronic disease prevention including type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

"Although lower income individuals are less likely to meet physical activity guidelines, they are less sedentary and engage in more light activity. To improve our health, we should strive to sit less, move more and attempt to incorporate exercise into our weekly routines."

High-earners on more than $75,000 were found to be 1.6 times more likely to carry out 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of strenuous activity across two days, when compared to those who earn less than $20,000.

The researchers concluded: "Higher annual household income is related to more intense, less frequent (per week) patterns of physical activity and more daily sedentary time."

The findings have been published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

Exercising regularly is recommended to prevent chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes which is linked to lifestyle and obesity. The NHS recommends people should attempt to participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, on a weekly basis.

For people with diabetes and additional health complications, getting as much exercise you can is still important, even if you have a comorbidity such as neuropathy which can affect your movement. There are a range of exercises for people with limited movement, you can find out more in our Exercise and Fitness section.
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