Behavior Change and Health News
Study Verifies that Less Physical Activity Means More Healthcare Costs
A study published in the November 2004 issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine confirms that physical inactivity is a serious and exceedingly expensive public health problem. Shouldered by taxpayers, employers, and individuals, the costs associated with physical inactivity typically result in increased health insurance premiums and higher taxes to subsidize public insurance programs.
Nancy A. Garrett, Ph.D., of Minnesota-based HealthPartners, a nonprofit healthcare organization, and colleagues studied 1.5 million adult members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota to estimate the total medical spending attributable to physical inactivity. In 2000 the health plan spent $83.6 million—or $56 per member—for medical care and pharmacy costs for diseases associated with inactivity.
Heart disease was by far the most expensive consequence of physical inactivity within the health plan population, costing $35.3 million. The following conditions accounted for the remaining portion of the health plan's medical expenditures related to inactivity:
- High blood pressure, 10.8 million
- Stroke, $9.2 million
- Depression and anxiety, $9.1 million
- Type 2 diabetes, $7.2 million
- Breast cancer, osteoporosis, and colon cancer, $12 million.
Researchers also noted that these estimates could have been much higher if obesity, a risk factor for the diseases included in the study, had been part of the analysis.
Active Living Every Day encourages older and sedentary adults to increase activity at their own pace, taking into account each individual’s level of readiness to change, physical ability and interests. Active Living Every Day emphasizes moderate-intensity activity (such as walking), fitting activity into everyday situations, and personalizing programs to address the daily struggles that often hinder active lifestyles. Trained facilitators guide participants along the way, making it a safe alternative to traditional exercise programs. For more information, contact Michelle Maloney at 217-351-5076 ext 2522 or email@example.com.
Garrett, Nancy A, et al. Physical Inactivity: Direct cost to a health plan. American Journal of Preventative Medicine 2004; 27: 304-309. www.sciencedirect.com
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