Working Papers

Long-Run Health Effects of Sports And Exercise In Canada

Nazmi Sari, Michael Lechner

Even though insufficient participation in physical activity is shown to be one of the major contributors to chronic diseases, and poor health, participation in physical activity still remains to be substantially low in developed countries including Canada. In this paper, we examine the long-run health effects of participation in sports and exercise among inactive Canadian adults. Based on informative Canadian panel data and semiparametric matching estimation, we show that participation in sports and exercise generally improves physical health and mental well-being of individuals. While this effect is statistically significant and persistent for men, we do not find a similar effect for women. Our results also indicate that positive health effects are only achieved with a level of physical activity that is larger than the current national and international health organizations’ guidelines for the minimum level of activity.

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Paper Keywords

physical activity, sports, exercise, subjective health, mental health, treatment effect