PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COULD SAVE BILLIONS IN HEALTH CARE COSTS
Vol. 5 Issue 34
A study published in The Physician and Sports medicine reported that higher medical costs are associated with physical inactivity.
Research has suggested that $4.3-5.6 billion could be saved each year in medical expenditures if just 10% of inactive adults began one simple activity on a consistent basis — walking. The study used the actual medical expenses of 35,000 U.S. consumers from 14,000 households.
Then, researchers compared the direct medical expenses of active men and women with inactive men and women. The active men and women engaged in at least 30 minutes of moderate to strenuous physical activity, three or more times per week.
The remaining participants were classified as inactive. Results of the study showed that medical costs for the active group were $1,242 — substantially lower than the $2,277 medical expenses incurred by the inactive group.
The majority of the savings were due to lower hospitalization costs — $391 for active, $613 for inactive. The active group also reported less hospital stays, physician visits, and use of medications.
Physical activity accrued $330 per person or $29.2 billion for the year of the study.
SOURCE: Pratt M, Macert CA, Wang G., “Higher direct medical costs associated with physical inactivity,”The Physician and Sportsmedicine, October 2000, Vol. 28, No. 10, pp. 1-11; www.chiroweb.com/tyh/sports.html.