Physical Inactivity Cost US$67 Billion Globally In 2013: Study

According to the study findings, type 2 diabetes was the costliest disease, accounting for US$37.6 billion or 70 percent of direct costs.

AsianScientist (Aug. 3, 2016) – A study published in The Lancet has revealed that in 2013, physical inactivity cost US$67.5 billion globally in healthcare expenditure and lost productivity, revealing the enormous economic burden of an increasingly sedentary world.

This study, led by Dr. Melody Ding from the University of Sydney in Australia, provides the first-ever global estimate of the financial cost of physical inactivity.

The researchers looked at data from 142 countries, which represents 93.2 percent of the world’s population. For these countries, they examined the direct healthcare cost, productivity losses, and disability-adjusted life years for five major non-communicable diseases attributable to inactivity: coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.

“Based on our data, physical inactivity costs the global economy US$67.5 billion in 2013, with Australia footing a bill of more than AU$805 million,” said Ding.

“At a global and individual country level, these figures are likely to be an underestimate of the real cost, because of the conservative methodologies used by the team and lack of data in many countries.”

According to the findings of the study, the US$67.5 billion estimate consists of US$53.8 billion in direct cost or healthcare expenditure, and US$13.7 billion in indirect costs or productivity losses. Type 2 diabetes was the costliest disease, accounting for US$37.6 billion or 70 percent of direct costs.

Ding explained that the economic burden of physical inactivity is distributed unequally across regions, with high-income countries bearing a larger proportion of the economic burden and low- and middle-income countries having a larger proportion of the disease burden.

“Globally, the economic burden of physical inactivity is projected to increase, particularly in low and middle-income countries, if no action is taken to improve population levels of physical activity,” she said.

Ding also noted that it is important to consider where the economic burden falls, including on the public sector, private sector, and out-of-pocket household expenditures. According to the findings, households paid US$9.7 billion out-of-pocket for physical inactivity-related diseases.

The article can be found at: Ding et al. (2016) The Economic Burden of Physical Inactivity: a Global Analysis of Major Non-communicable Diseases.


Source: University of Sydney; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

Related Stories from Asian Scientist