The Use of a Nonrefundable Tax Credit to Increase Children’s Participation in Physical Activity in Alberta, Canada

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Potential income disparities were examined in the (1) awareness and uptake of the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit (CFTC), and (2) physical activity (PA) of children from families who did and did not claim the credit in Alberta, Canada in 2012 and 2014. Methods: Secondary analyses of 3 cross-sectional data sets of grade 5 students (10–11 y) were performed, including Alberta Project Promoting healthy Living for Everyone Schools 2012 (N = 1037), and Raising healthy Eating and Active Living Kids Alberta 2012 (N = 2676), and 2014 (N = 3125). Parents reported whether they claimed the CFTC in the previous year, their education and household income, and their child’s gender and PA. Children self-reported their PA from the previous 7 days. In Alberta Project Promoting healthy Living for Everyone Schools, children also wore pedometers. Analyses adjusted for clustering within schools and demographic factors. Results: Higher income families (≥$50,000/y) were more likely to be aware of and to have claimed the CFTC compared with low-income families (<$50,000/y). The CFTC was associated with organized PA with larger associations for higher-income families (odds ratio = 9.03–9.32, Ps < .001) compared with lower-income families (odds ratio = 3.27–4.05, Ps < .01). No associations existed for overall PA or pedometer steps with the CFTC. Conclusions: Income disparities exist in the awareness, uptake, and potential impact of the CFTC. Tax credits are not effective in promoting overall PA.

Stearns is with the Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Veugelers is with the School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. McHugh is with the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Sprysak is with the Faculty of Law, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Spence is with the Sedentary Living Lab, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Spence (jc.spence@ualberta.ca) is corresponding author.
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