The Great Recession and Physical Activity of Young Adults

Document Type


Publication Date



International Studies



Publication Title

American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine


Objective. Since physical inactivity has been identified as a pandemic and a public health priority, it is crucial to understand the role of adverse economic shocks on physical activity. In this study, we examine the impact of job losses during the U.S. Great Recession from January 2008 to June 2009 on the likelihood of physical activities of young adults. Methods. We use individual fixed effects estimation on a nationally representative longitudinal data from 2005 to 2015, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), to examine the impact of job losses of young adults, their spouses, and their parents on physical exercise of young adults aged 18 to 27 years. Results. Own job losses during the Great Recession led to a decrease in the likelihood of physical exercise among young adults. However, job losses of parents and partners had no effect on the likelihood of young adults’ physical exercise. Conclusion. Our findings indicate a negative impact of the recession on physical activity of young adults and highlights the need for policymakers to consider the impact of major economic downturns on the physical activity of young adults.


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