UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Inter-categorical intersectionality and leisure-based physical activity in Canada Abichahine, Hayfa; Veenstra, Gerry


Leisure-based physical activity is socially stratified in Canada. To date, inequalities in physical activity by race or ethnicity, gender, class or sexual orientation, in Canada and elsewhere, have largely been investigated as distinct, additive phenomena. Informed by intersectionality theory, this paper examines whether racial identity, gender, class and sexuality ‘intersect’ with one another to predict physical activity in data from Cycles 2.1 and 3.1 of the Canadian Community Health Survey (n = 149,574) . In particular, we apply the intersectional principle of multiplicativity which suggests that people’s experiences of their gender identities are raced, classed and sexualized, their racial experiences are gendered, classed and sexualized, and so forth. We find that the positive effect of income on being physically active is strong among visible minority men, of moderate strength among White men and women and weak to non-existent among visible minority women. We also find that an LGB orientation corresponds with a higher likelihood of being physically active among women (especially less educated women) but not among men. These multiplicative findings undermine additive approaches to investigating social inequalities in leisure-based physical activity and pave the way for future intersectional analyses of axes of inequality and their diverse, intersecting effects.

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