The Economic Impact of Physical Activity

The Economic Impact of Physical Activity

The positive health effects of physical activity today are uncontested as a wide body of empirical studies as given evidence of the existence of its positive impacts on problems related to weight as well as chronic diseases.  Further research reveals a positive relationship between the overall well being of people and regular exercise. Physical activity that is being engineered at a high rate out of our social and working lives is essential in health maintenance. Physical inactivity, after all, is considered as number four in the leading causes of death across the globe (Barte & Wendel-Vos, 2017). This paper will highlight the most prevalent health issues that are affected by physical activity, including the associated costs for a country’s health care system, families, human development as well as the prevention.

In the past, calculations suggested that inactive people would spend 38% days more in a hospital, on average, 5.5% on more medical visits, access more specialist services at 13%, and a whole lot more visits to the nurses at 12% compared to the physically active individuals. The continuous increase demand for medical interventions can be explained under the different negative health effects resulting from physical inactivity. Obesity is one of the most common problems. In several developed countries, their people are less physically active and more overweight, which is why this development is now termed as a global pandemic (Lazarieva et al., 2017). Physical activity, together with the change of some behavior patterns, is considered as one of the most effective approaches against obesity. Research suggests that a fusion of continuing use of diet forms a treatment that is beneficial to both children and adults. Besides, physical activities are viewed to be a suitable instrument in obesity prevention in the first place.

There is some evidence in existence suggesting that physical activity in the right amount decreases the risk of the genetic susceptibility of obesity. Withal, not only is obesity a threat to an individual’s health, but it also causes high medical costs for Countries medical system worldwide. As an example, in the U.S., costs linked to obesity went up to $70 billion in the late 90s; therefore, accounting for the national health care system costs by 9.5%. A more recent study took a look at different cost categories: productivity costs, direct medical costs, productivity, and transportation costs, as well as human capital accumulation costs. The costs amounted to $215billion. Similarly, in Europe, 797 publications were handling the economic effect of obesity. Ten western European countries were investigated in total (Tyrrell et al.,2017).

Their findings showed that there was an economic burden to the GDP. Germany was leading in the country with the highest obesity-related cost at around €10.4 billion. Notably, diabetes is another disease that is closely linked to obesity (Cooremans et al.,2017). Past studies have proven the positive effect of physical activity as a way of treatment and prevention. In regards to the originated costs, the American Diabetes Association recorded $245 billion that is related to diabetes, including $69 billion in reduced productivity and $176 billion on medical cost. Over five years, the numbers increased by 41%. Regular exercises, positive effects are not just restricted to physical benefits. Instead, it can also be argued that physically active people are more stable mentally and enjoy greater well-being psychologically. There has also been a great reduction in anxiety disorders. If an individual engages in physical activity, the prevalence of depression is less likely. Also, depression symptoms can be reduced through excising regularly. Additionally, active individuals are significantly happier overall as compared to inactive ones.

Notably, psychological diseases are also responsible for the national health care systems’ high cost. People suffering from depression brought about much higher costs for the health care system as compared to patients that do not have these kinds of pathological conditions. The total cost of depression for European countries based on the economic and epidemiology shows that 21 million people in 28 countries were affected, resulting in costs of about €118 billion. In addition to previous diseases, physical activity has also been viewed to have a great effect on the prevention of cancer, children’s academic and cognition performance as well as in the coronary heart diseases (Mossialos et al.,2016).

A countries economic benefits related to the physical activeness of its people can be viewed in two different ways. The first is the potential for cost-saving for different health care systems. As already mentioned, those costs have increased in the last decade, not only in Europe but also in North America. They have become a leading contributor to the overall costs of health care systems nationally. Withal, the magnitude of different economic impacts is hard to compare. Published literature only assumes a relative risk of physical inactivity and estimating related treatment costs. Most risks, including obesity, diabetes cancer, depression, and coronary heart diseases, have been mentioned. Additionally, the attributable population fraction was identified, and this information was used in examining the direct cost of physical inactivity from the National Health Service costs data (Dalton &Byrne 2017).

Families from lower socioeconomic status are likely to be overweight and participate in less physical activity and screen activity. Almost 85% of parents in the U.S. work fulltime while 15% work part-time. Almost ten and a half million people working are categorized as poor, people working, but they still manage a below the poverty line income. So, what does it mean to have an extended school day for the working families, especially those living in poor conditions? Extension of the school day is not a new idea, and the potential economic effect of this approach on increased physical activity in the school programs has been argued in the literature (Sigmund et al., 2018). Much of the economic debate has focused more on the level of schools with just it of potential family cost or saving cost being mentioned. In communities that there are large numbers of families living below the poverty lines, a larger percentage of parents agree that the after-school programs aid working parents to keep their jobs. At the same time, 82% of them also agree that the programs give them peace of mind regarding their children while at work. However, for a lot of these families, it is not possible to find and afford such programs. Families report using over $100 per week on after school programs. Also, almost 9% of such families say that their children between the ages of 5-11 years are taking care of themselves for about an hour in a week. An extension of the school day by that one hour could have vital cost savings at the family level and extended benefits as well for parents that are working, especially if they are not making enough money that can afford the after-school care.

The programs are divergent with just some programs that include physical activity, and few have teachers tat are adequately trained. The after-school programs that do not involve physical activity, it has been difficult increasing the children’s levels of moderate as well as vigorous physical activities. An extension of the school day to provide physical activity has the chance of increasing the rates of physical rates a lot more than the general after school program. Additionally, families in communities that are affected by poverty show that safety is one of the biggest concerns regarding after-school care (Gordon et al.,2016). Low -income families whose children went for a culinary program in summer, showed program acceptability in high levels due to the fact that the program addressed their worries over kitchen safety as well as healthy eating. There is a need for teachers to undergo training by individuals who are certified or have physical training formal training so that their extra hour proposed can have maximum effect on the children’s time spent in physical activity.

In conclusion, the health benefits of physical activity have been outlined together with the costs of health care systems of the related diseases brought about by the lack of physical activity. The results indicate that the physical inactivity of people shows an alarming development. The global increase of obesity is supposed to raise our future concerns, and, in this context, research has shown physical exercise effectiveness in terms of prevention as well as treatment. The worldwide costs of health care systems concerning obesity have significantly increased over the past years. After all, a change in nutrition and physical activity remains to be the most efficient and effective method of reversing this development. Contemporary literature has given a few clues on how effective physical activity can be when it comes to cost reduction for the health care systems.

Withal, the limited body of research dealing with this topic is assumable due to the tiresome evaluation of the measurement procedure. Notably, an extension of the school day by an hour every day has the potential of alleviating child care anxiety that a lot of families are facing. Additionally, there is added potential for the farther-reaching family as well as societal impacts. Practitioners looking to move with this proposal should have such economic and societal benefits in their debates for a concentrated focus on physical activity during the school day in their minds. Withal, having an extension of school time focusing on physical activity as well as trained teachers has the potential of increasing physical activity more than the normal after school care while giving essential service to working parents.







Barte, J. C., & Wendel-Vos, G. W. (2017). A systematic review of financial incentives for physical activity: the effects on physical activity and related outcomes. Behavioral medicine43(2), 79-90.

Cooremans, K., Geuens, M., & Pandelaere, M. (2017). Cross-national investigation of the drivers of obesity: Re-assessment of past findings and avenues for the future. Appetite114, 360-367.

Dalton, K., & Byrne, S. (2017). Role of the pharmacist in reducing healthcare costs: current insights. Integrated pharmacy research & practice6, 37.

Gordon, B., Jacobs, J. M., & Wright, P. M. (2016). Social and emotional learning through a teaching personal and social responsibility based after-school program for disengaged middle-school boysJournal of Teaching in Physical Education35(4), 358-369.

Lazarieva, O., Aravitska, M., Andrieieva, O., Galan, Y., & Dotsyuk, L. (2017). Dynamics of physical activity status in patients with grade І-ІІІ obesity in response to a physical rehabilitation program.

Mossialos, E., Wenzl, M., Osborn, R., & Sarnak, D. (2016). 2015 international profiles of health care systems. Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.

Sigmund, E., Sigmundová, D., Badura, P., & Gecková, A. M. (2018). Health-related parental indicators and their association with healthy weight and overweight/obese children’s physical activity. BMC public health18(1), 676.

Tyrrell, J., Wood, A. R., Ames, R. M., Yaghootkar, H., Beaumont, R. N., Jones, S. E., … & Joost, S. (2017). Gene–obesogenic environment interactions in the U.K. Biobank study. International journal of epidemiology46(2), 559-575.

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