Study Looks at Economic Cost of Physical Inactivity. Hint: It’s Big.

A new analysis published last week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that physical inactivity results in a significant economic burden the world over. Though the authors found that studies looking at the economic impact of inactivity lacked consistent methodology – which, therefore, limited specific conclusions – sedentary lifestyles were found to account for large percentages of direct health care expenditures in a number of countries. In the United States, 2.4 – 11.1 percent of direct health care expenditures on things like doctors visits and hospital stays were linked to inactivity.  In New Zealand, it was 4.5 percent.  In China, it was 2.4 percent. And in the United Kingdom, it was 0.3 – 1.5 percent.  Globally, the “pandemic” of physical inactivity – as the authors describe it – was estimated in one study to be 0.64 percent.

Ding D, et al. Br. J Sports Med. 2017
And these are just direct health costs from diseases and conditions caused by physical inactivity.  Indirect costs, which take into account other economic burdens of  physical inactivity, such as lost work productivity and wages, are also substantial.

As the authors conclude:

Based on the findings from the studies reviewed, it is evident that physical inactivity is a costly pandemic that is associated with a substantial disease burden in almost every country where estimates exist.  

Related Cancer News in Context posts on physical activity.

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