Economic Costs of Inactivity

  • “Approximately one-quarter of Canadians who reported watching television for 21 or more hours per week were obese … A recent report profiling screen time among Canadian adults (2007 CCHS) noted that 29% watch television for 15 or more hours per week - an average of over two hours per day” (CFLRI, 2009).
  • “The World Health Report (2002) estimates that around 3% of disease burden in developed countries is caused by physical inactivity and that over 20% of CHD and 10% of stroke in developed countries is due to physical inactivity” (Economic Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008).
  • “Physical inactivity is a primary risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD by itself is the most common cause of premature death in the UK and estimates have shown that more CHD deaths can be attributed to physical inactivity (37%) than to smoking (19%) or high blood pressure (13%)”(Economic Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008).
  • “Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the single most common cause of death in the U.K and is a very costly disease. In 2003, CHD cost the U.K. health care system around £3,500 million [approx. $625 million Canadian]” (Economic Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008).
  • “Individuals who are inactive are 1.9 times more likely to have a heart attack than their active contemporaries” (Economic Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008).
  • “Stroke care costs the NHS about 2.8 billion per year, £530 million [approx. $946 million Canadian] of which is spent on inpatient care costs. For each individual who has a stroke in the U.K, the cost to the NHS is £15,000 [approx. $2,678 Canadian] over five years” (Economic Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008).
  • “Lack of physical activity is a modifiable risk factor for both total stroke and stroke subtypes. Moderately intense physical activity is sufficient to achieve risk reduction” (Economic Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008).
  • “Obesity levels in the UK are rising at an alarming rate and the current increases have been linked to the declining levels of physical activity” (Economic Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008).
  • Obesity places an enormous financial burden on the Health Service; the direct costs of obesity in 2002 were estimated at £46-49 million per year [approx. $82-87 Canadian] and the costs of treating the consequences of obesity at approximately £945-£1,075 million per year [approx. $1688-1920 Canadian]” (Economic Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008).
  • There are currently around 2.1 million people in the U.K. diagnosed with diabetes. 90,000 of these people are blind or visually impaired due to diabetic retinopathy. The treatment of diabetes and its complications costs the NHS 5% of its budget; £3.5 billion per year/£9.6 million per day [approx. $6.3 billion Canadian per year/$ 17 million Canadian per day]” (Economic Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008).
  • “Physical inactivity is estimated to cause two-million deaths worldwide annually.  Globally, it is estimated to cause about 10–16% of cases each of breast cancer, colon cancers and diabetes, and about 22% of ischemic heart disease.” (Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008).
  • “Another report in 2007 estimated that the direct health care cost of physical inactivity was $1.5 billion. The direct health care cost was estimated to be 17% of the total health cost of seven conditions – coronary heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer, depression and falls. The $1.5 billion cost refers to direct health expenditure, in the public and private sectors, for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions attributable to physical inactivity” (Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008).
  • Environmental costs: Physical inactivity has an environmental impact, with increased car use causing a decline in levels of walking and cycling for transport. Car use creates more greenhouse gases, pollution and traffic congestion.
  • Indirect costs: Indirect costs, including time off work and the social costs of inactivity would more than double the direct health care costs.
  • Costs of obesity: Physical inactivity is a strong risk factor for obesity. It is estimated that the total economic cost of obesity in Australia, including both financial costs ($3.767 billion) and lost wellbeing ($17.2 billion), was $21.0 billion in 2005.  Obesity is linked to increased absenteeism and decreased productivity” (Costs of Physical Inactivity, 2008
  • The obesity rate in Canada has swollen to 16 per cent in 2007 from 12 per cent in 1996,
    increasing the risk of future health problems and escalating health care costs.Community Foundations of Canada - Vital Signs 2008
  • In 2001, the economic burden of illnesses or injuries associated with physical inactivity was $5.3 billion ($1.6 billion in direct costs, $3.7 billion in indirect costs). This represented 2.6% of all health care costs in Canada that year (Katzmarzyk and Janssen, 2004).
  • In 2000, 57% of Canadian children and youth aged five to seventeen years were not sufficiently active to meet international guidelines for optimal growth and development (Craig, Cameron, Storm, Russell, & Beaulieu, 2001). For adolescents, this number increased from 64% in 2000 (Craig et al., 2001) to 82% in 2002 (Craig & Cameron, 2004).
  • “[It is estimated that there would be] a savings of $150 million annually if the prevalence of physical inactivity were reduced by 10% - the national target for 2003.” (CLFRI – Economic Costs of Physical Inactivity CLRF, 2001)
  • “If all Canadians were sufficiently physically active, the savings to the health care system for heart disease alone would be $776 million a year.” ( CLFRI, 1994 – Being Active Saves Heart Disease Costs)
  • “The likelihood of obesity among individuals who were physically active in leisure time (greater than or equal to 5 bouts of physical activity per week) was approximately 50% lower than among those who were physically active.” (King xxxx, pp)
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