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No Time for the Gym? Housework and Other Non-Labor Market Time Use Patterns Are Associated with Meeting Physical Activity Recommendations among Adults in Full-Time, Sedentary Jobs

Citation

Smith, Lindsey P.; Ng, Shu Wen; & Popkin, Barry M. (2014). No Time for the Gym? Housework and Other Non-Labor Market Time Use Patterns Are Associated with Meeting Physical Activity Recommendations among Adults in Full-Time, Sedentary Jobs. Social Science & Medicine, 120, 126-134. PMCID: PMC4252535

Abstract

Physical activity and inactivity have distinct cardio-metabolic consequences, suggesting that combinations of activities can impact health above and beyond the effects of a single activity. However, little work has examined patterns of non-labor market time activity in the US population, particularly among full-time employees in sedentary occupations, who are at increased risk of adverse health consequences associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Identification of these patterns, and how they are related to total physical activity levels, is important for developing effective, attainable physical activity recommendations among sedentary employees, who typically have less time available for exercise. This is, especially the case for low-income employees who face the highest time and financial barriers to achieving physical activity goals. This study uses cluster analysis to examine patterns of non-labor market time use among full-time (≥40h/week) employed adults in sedentary occupations (<3 MET-h) on working days in the American Time Use Study. We then examine whether these patterns are associated with higher likelihood of meeting physical activity recommendations and higher overall physical activity (MET-h). We find that non-labor market time use patterns include those characterized by screen activities, housework, caregiving, sedentary leisure, and exercise. For both genders, the screen pattern was the most common and increased from 2003 to 2012, while the exercise pattern was infrequent and consistent across time. Screen, sedentary leisure, and community patterns were associated with lower likelihoods of meeting physical activity recommendations, suggesting that interventions targeting screen time may miss opportunities to improve physical activity among similarly sedentary groups. Alternately, non-labor market time use patterns characterized by housework and caregiving, represented feasible avenues for increasing overall physical activity levels, especially for those with low financial and time resources. Consideration of non-labor market time use patterns may improve strategies to increase physical activity and decrease inactivity among full-time employed adults in sedentary jobs.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.09.010

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2014

Journal Title

Social Science & Medicine

Author(s)

Smith, Lindsey P.
Ng, Shu Wen
Popkin, Barry M.

PMCID

PMC4252535