Title: The mitigating impact of physical activity on mentally healthy days: differential effects based on race, ethnicity and gender

Authors: Jake Jennings; Iris Buder

Addresses: Department of Economics, California State University, Chico, Butte Hall Rm 649a, Chico, CA 95929, USA ' Department of Economics, Idaho State University, 921 South 8th Avenue, Pocatello, ID 83209, USA

Abstract: Social inequalities have been linked to mental disorders, with the poor and disadvantaged reporting higher rates. Additionally, differences in socioeconomic status have substantial effects on both physical and mental health through access to healthcare, environmental exposure, and health behaviour. This paper directly controls for race and ethnicity in addition to gender, education and income, and finds physical activity, for all races and ethnicities, to be associated with lower number of reported mentally unhealthy days. Complementing early work using accelerometers but not limited by their methodological constraints, our work highlights the manner by which mental health varies by race, ethnicity, and gender for the adult population. These results are relevant to public policy setting, showing how physical activity benefits a wider scope of factors regarding mental health.

Keywords: health benefits; mentally healthy days; racial/ethnic disparities; physical activity; mental health; physical activity; depression; racial and ethnic disparities; gender.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBHR.2020.112166

International Journal of Behavioural and Healthcare Research, 2020 Vol.7 No.2, pp.103 - 116

Received: 14 Feb 2020
Accepted: 10 Jul 2020

Published online: 18 Dec 2020 *

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