Health >> Health Archives >> Enriching Activities

Enriching Activities:  Summary & Data Highlights

Although most King County adults participate in activities that enrich their lives, those at lower income and education levels reported less active participation.

Balancing work and chores with enjoyable activities helps to relieve the pressures of day-to-day life.  King County adults were asked about their participation in 9 types of cultural, spiritual, athletic, educational, or community-service activities over the past 30 days. Response options were “very active,” “somewhat active,” “not very active,” and “not active at all.”

In 2011, 78% of King County adults were “very active” or “somewhat active” in at least 3 different kinds of enriching activities.  Significant associations of education and income with activity level were not surprising, since working adults without a college degree may need to work longer hours to make ends meet and may therefore have less time for leisure activities. 

  • Higher education level was related to more involvement with enriching activities.
  • Adults making more than $65,000 a year were more active than those with annual incomes below $35,000.

Across all regions, three types of activities elicited “very active” or “somewhat active” responses from more than half of adults surveyed.

  • 75% of adults participated in individual or team sports, outdoor recreation, walking, or other physical activity.
  • 70% of adults said they wrote, read books, belonged to a book club, studied another language, or were involved in a theater production.
  • 63% of adults said they were learning about an issue or skill by taking a class or by doing research or studying in the library, online, or in some other way.

Regional patterns in leisure activities included:

  • Residents of Seattle and East Region were more likely than South Region residents to participate in 3 or more activities.
  • Participation in arts and cultural activities was highest among Seattle residents.
  • East Region residents had higher participation in sports and other physical activities than residents of North and South regions.
  • South Region residents were more likely than Seattle residents to participate in spiritual or religious activities.

Differences across demographic groups included:

  • Adults aged 25 to 44 were more likely to participate in the activities in the survey than those 65 and older.
  • Adults who rated their health as excellent, very good, or good were more active participants than those in fair or poor health
  • White non-Hispanics reported more active participation than people of color and Hispanics.
  • Women were more likely than men to participate in activities.
  • Adults who had not served in the military reported more participation in activities than those with active-duty military experience.

Participation in enriching activities did not change significantly between 2007 and 2011. See Notes & Sources for more detail. 

"As far as just, 'Okay let’s all plan, we’re going to the Seattle Center' or 'We’re going to the Aquarium,' you know, first of all I’m fittin’ to worry about some gas.  Secondly, if we go and pay for everybody, if they’re hungry, what do you do? It’s just, I can’t plan stuff like that.  You know, so again, we really try to make the most of the stuff in the house."
Single mother with 6 children, living in Renton

"The YMCA and some places have a separate space, you know, where the kids can go and they do activities. My husband actually takes my son along to a gym once a week, close to where he works.  I don’t know if it’s a YMCA; I think it’s just a Seattle Community Center that has a little fitness room."
Married mother of toddler, living in South Seattle