Does Having a Higher Income Make You More Active?

By Ryan Halvorson
Oct 13, 2017

Higher earners may have more resources to boost activity levels than lower-income people, but that doesn’t make the better-off less sedentary, says a recent study.

In this study, published in Preventive Medicine (2017; 103, 91–97), researchers compared the activity levels of subjects with an annual income of $20,000 to those of people making $75,000 per year or more. The 5,206 subjects wore accelerometers for a week. The main variables were household income and amount and intensity of physical activity. Here’s what the scientists found:

  • Higher earners engaged in 4.6 more minutes of moderate to vigorous activity daily compared with those in the $20K bracket. Lower earners spent 9.3 more minutes each day engaged in light activity.
  • The $75K+ group was 1.6 and 1.9 times
    more likely than the lower-income
    group to meet 2-day and 7-day activity
    guidelines, respectively.
  • The low-income group spent 11.8 fewer
    daily minutes being sedentary than the
    higher-income group.
  • Higher-income individuals were more
    likely to be “weekend warriors.”

“In conclusion, higher annual household income is related to more intense, less frequent (per week) patterns of physical activity and more daily sedentary time,” the authors concluded.

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Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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