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Is it pleasure or health from leisure that we benefit from most? An analysis of well-being alternatives and implications for policy

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journal contribution
posted on 26.11.2020, 13:49 by Paul Downward, Peter Dawson
International policy now constantly advocates a need for populations to engage in more physical activity to promote health and to reduce society’s health care costs. Such policy has developed guidelines on recommended levels and intensity of physical activity and implicitly equates health with well-being. It is assumed that individual, and hence social welfare will be enhanced if the activity guidelines are met. This paper challenges that claim and raises questions for public policy priorities. Using an instrumental variable analysis to value the well-being from active leisure, it is shown that the well-being experienced from active leisure that is not of a recommended intensity to generate health benefits, perhaps due to its social, recreational or fun purpose, has a higher value of well-being than active leisure that does meet the guidelines. This suggests rethinking the motivation and foundation of existing policy and perhaps a realignment of priorities towards activity that has a greater contribution to social welfare through its intrinsic fun and possibly social interaction.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Social Indicators Research

Volume

126

Pages

443–465

Citation

DOWNWARD, P. and DAWSON, P., 2015. Is it pleasure or health from leisure that we benefit from most? An analysis of well-being alternatives and implications for policy. Social Indicators Research, 126 (1), pp 443-465.

Publisher

© Springer Science+Business Media

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

24/01/2015

Publication date

2015-02-05

Copyright date

2016

Notes

The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11205-015-0887-8

ISSN

0303-8300

eISSN

1573-0921

Language

en