In this study, we analyze the determinants of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) of farmers and non-farmers living in rural areas. Methods:
We use statistical analysis to describe urban and rural populations, as well as econometric techniques (Heckman regressions and propensity score matching) to assess the role of rural lifestyle in physical activity. Results:
World Health Organization (WHO) pro-health PA (physical activity) recommendations are not met by 66% of farmers and 49% of other dwellers in rural areas. Approximately two thirds of them are completely inactive. Farmers enjoy vigorous PA (VPA), cycling and recreational walking less than their non-farming counterparts and are 46% less likely to be active than them; however the difference disappears when they take up an activity. The amount of PA is negatively correlated with age, but tends to increase for older people compared to those in middle age. Women are 6%–7% less active than men, yet the odds of being active at all are higher for women than for men. Household size is negatively correlated with LTPA. Conclusion:
Considering the structural changes, rural area dwellers, especially farmers, require public intervention aimed at increasing their awareness of the advantages of LTPA.
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