Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Amanda Dawsey

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Economics

Abstract

A growing body of economic literature examines behavioral change in a variety of contexts, including exercise habits (Duckworth and Milkman). These studies are informed by the theory of restraining forces, that is forces that raise the cost for individuals to engage in optimal behavior. These forces have been identified and changed, known as nudges, in many realms of behavior including exercise. Despite the benefits of physical exercise, such as a 40-50% reduction in all cause mortality, only half of the students surveyed by this study met CDC suggested exercise requirement of 5 hours—5% responded that they do not exercise at all (Morris et al.). The societal costs of insufficient exercise are estimated at $117 billion per year in America alone (Carlson et al.). The central question of this study is how do students frame exercise and allocate time for it? Understanding how students frame their time consumption can enlighten policy responses to the problem of physical inactivity. This study adds to the behavioral revolution in economics by offering insight about university student exercise habits, specifically.

This paper uses data from a survey sent via email to the student membership of the University of Montana Recreation Center which generated ~440 observations analyzed using ordinary least squares regression and ordered logit. Preliminary results indicate the median student engages in sufficient number of hours of exercise. For both exercise and studying, students claim they would be most willing to give up personal and social time. Students were least likely to give up study time in order to exercise more often. These responses suggest novel behavioral interventions that could induce students to exercise more often that could be replicated in society.

Category

Social Sciences

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HIIT-ing the Books: University Student Time Allocation and Exercise

A growing body of economic literature examines behavioral change in a variety of contexts, including exercise habits (Duckworth and Milkman). These studies are informed by the theory of restraining forces, that is forces that raise the cost for individuals to engage in optimal behavior. These forces have been identified and changed, known as nudges, in many realms of behavior including exercise. Despite the benefits of physical exercise, such as a 40-50% reduction in all cause mortality, only half of the students surveyed by this study met CDC suggested exercise requirement of 5 hours—5% responded that they do not exercise at all (Morris et al.). The societal costs of insufficient exercise are estimated at $117 billion per year in America alone (Carlson et al.). The central question of this study is how do students frame exercise and allocate time for it? Understanding how students frame their time consumption can enlighten policy responses to the problem of physical inactivity. This study adds to the behavioral revolution in economics by offering insight about university student exercise habits, specifically.

This paper uses data from a survey sent via email to the student membership of the University of Montana Recreation Center which generated ~440 observations analyzed using ordinary least squares regression and ordered logit. Preliminary results indicate the median student engages in sufficient number of hours of exercise. For both exercise and studying, students claim they would be most willing to give up personal and social time. Students were least likely to give up study time in order to exercise more often. These responses suggest novel behavioral interventions that could induce students to exercise more often that could be replicated in society.