CCHE Seminar Series: Availability of Sports and Exercise Facilities and their Impact on Participation in Physical Activity: An Empirical Analysis Based on Canadian Data

Availability of Sports and Exercise Facilities and their Impact on Participation in Physical Activity: An Empirical Analysis Based on Canadian Data

Nazmi Sari
University of Saskatchewan

Friday October 7, 2022, 10am-12pm, HS Room 108 and Zoom

Abstract: Participation in physical activities has been frequently studied in health economics. There is a growing literature showing that participation in physical activity improves health and well-being of individuals, reduces utilization of healthcare services, and improves labor market outcomes. However, participation in these activities has been still significantly lower than the recommended guidelines, and has not improved during recent decades. To increase the participation in physical activity, policy makers have introduced policies including increasing availability of physical activity facilities. In this study, we aim to examine the impact of an increase in access to these centers on participation in selected types of physical activities.

The study uses Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), and GPS location of all physical activity and sports facilities in the country. Due to the nature of the dependent variable, count data models are employed using the sample of CCHS participants aged 18-59 living in urban centers.

The results of the study show that access to physical activity centers at work places increases the probability of participation, but it does not have a similar impact on the frequency of participation. As opposed to these results, an increase in the numbers of activity centers close to individuals’ place of residence does not have a uniform impact on all activity types.

While our results provide new evidence to improve our understanding of this issue, they need to be evaluated in the light of potential limitations of the methodology used in the study. Future studies based on alternative research methods that use different databases would contribute more to our understanding, and the literature in health economics.

Dr. Sari earned his PhD in economics at Boston University in 2001. Currently he is a professor of economics at the University of Saskatchewan. Before joining the University of Saskatchewan, he was an assistant professor at the School of Policy and Management, Florida International University, USA. In addition to his appointment at the University, he is a faculty associate at the Canadian Center for Health Economics, University of Toronto.

Dr. Sari’s research programs have focused on provider reimbursements and healthcare financing reforms; economics of sports and exercise; quality and efficiency issues in hospital markets; economics of smoking; and economic evaluation of specific healthcare interventions and programs. His research has been published in economics, health economics, health policy and health sciences journals, and has been supported by several funding agencies including the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, and the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.