It’s time to move more, as a new study published at The Lancet claims to reveal how much physical inactivity–oftentimes attributed to laziness–costs the world.
The research, with lead author Dr Melody Ding from University of Sydney, didn’t focus entirely on its impact to economies, but on idleness and its connection with multiple health problems which plague the United States and many countries around the world.
In a press release, researchers say the study is the first-ever estimate of the financial cost of physical inactivity that covers more than ninety-three percent of the world. They’ve examined it by looking at the health-care cost, and the productivity losses and the disability-adjusted life years, or DALYs, for five major diseases linked to physical inactivity.
The team explains that coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, stroke and even colon cancer are linked to idleness, and in 2013, they cost the world economy more than $67.5 billion.
Dr Ding says physical inactivity is recognized as a “global pandemic” that not only kill many people, but also imposes a “major burden to the economy.” She also warned that the numbers could be higher as they lack data from many countries.
Here’s the cost breakdown: direct cost in 2013 was at $53.8 billion, and $13.7 billion in indirect cost.
For the tax revenue through expenditure for public healthcare, the team has seen about $32.1 billion. Meanwhile, the total amount in payment of private sector–which included health insurance companies–was at $12.9 billion. Also, the team saw expenditure of $9.7 billion in world households for idleness-related diseases.
Their study also saw the unequal distribution of economic burden linked to physical inactivity in many countries. Developed nations had the larger portion of the economic burden, Dr Ding said, as low and middle-income countries having a larger percentage of the so-called ‘disease burden.’