Higher income individuals are more likely to be “weekend warriors”, getting most of their activity on only a few days a week and also spend more time in sedentary pursuits, says a study. For the study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, the researchers used accelerometer data to analyze physical activity and sedentary behaviour in relation to income levels among 5,206 US adults enrolled in The National Health and Examination Survey from 2003-06, a nationally representative survey. The study found that compared to those making less than $20,000 per year, those with an annual income of $75,000 or more engaged in 4.6 more daily minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity as measured by activity monitors.
High-income individuals also engaged in 9.3 fewer minutes of light intensity activity and spent 11.8 more minutes daily sedentary, the findings showed. “Our findings pertaining to income and the ‘weekend warrior’ effect underscore the importance of tailoring the physical activity message to reflect the constraints of both low and high-income individuals,” said one of the researchers Kerem Shuval from American Cancer Society. Income could be a prominent barrier to engaging in physical activity.
Individuals with low incomes face time constraints, as well as other barriers, including lack of exercise facilities, parks, and open space, as well as an inflexible work environment and, have been shown to be less likely to meet physical activity guidelines. Meanwhile, higher income individuals who often also have limited time have more resources and places to exercise which could facilitate their ability to meet activity guidelines. However, they also are more likely to hold sedentary jobs like office work.