Financial Barriers and Pricing Strategies Related to Participation in Sports Activities: The Perceptions of People of Low Income

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Ingrid H.M. Steenhuis
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Steffie B.C. Nooy
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Machiel J.G. Moes
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Albertine J. Schuit
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Background:

Physical activity levels in most affluent countries are low and many people do not meet the current recommendations. Particularly for people with a low income, economic strategies seem promising to stimulate taking part in sports activities. This study investigated the importance of economic restraints for taking part in sports activities as well as perceptions of low-income people toward different pricing interventions.

Methods:

A qualitative study was conducted, using semistructured, individual interviews with 27 low-income men and women. The framework approach was used to analyze the transcripts of the interviews.

Results:

The respondents considered finances to be an important barrier for participating in sports activities, together with some individual barriers. Promising pricing strategies are a discount on the subscription to the fitness or sports club, a 1 month free trial, and free entrance to the swimming pool once a week.

Conclusions:

Pricing strategies may be a promising intervention to increase physical activity levels of low-income people. However, this study indicates that this should be coupled with an intervention directed at individual barriers. Some pricing strategies will be used and appreciated more by low-income people than other pricing strategies. In addition, pricing strategies should be tailored to individual needs and preferences.

Steenhuis, Nooy, and Moes are with the Institute of Health Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands. Schuit is with the Dept of Public Health and Forecasts, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, Netherlands.

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