Move it or Lose it
Physical inactivity incurs a conservative estimated global cost
of $US67.5 billion a year, leading a Queensland researcher to
emphasise that prevention should be a priority.
The University of Queensland School of Human
Movement and Nutrition Sciences
Dr Tracy Kolbe-Alexander co-authored a two-year study
released ahead of the 2016 Olympics.
"The study involved in-depth analysis of non-communicable
diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes,
breast cancer and colon cancer," Dr Kolbe-Alexander said.
"The cost of physical inactivity was calculated for 142
countries, representing 93 per cent of the global population.
"We took into account both the direct healthcare costs and the
loss of productivity due to disability or death.
"Our estimate of $US67.5 billion was rather conservative and, if
we used other economic models, the expense could be closer to
The research, published in leading medical journal
The Lancet, placed Australia's share of the annual
cost of physical inactivity at $US555.6 million, 67 per cent of
which was paid for by the public sector.
Final numbers were reached by using data from the Global Burden
of Disease study, International Diabetes Foundation, World Health
Organisation, World Bank and International Labour Organisation.
Some diseases and conditions such as hypertension, metabolic
syndrome and falls were not used in calculations, meaning the true
cost was under-estimated.
"One thing we definitely did not do was exaggerate cost
figures," Dr Kolbe-Alexander said.
"We hear so much about healthcare costs, particularly around
budgetary and election times, but what seems to be lacking is
discussion about preventative measures.
"One of the key messages of this paper is that prevention will
not only improve the life of Australians, but also result in
Dr Kolbe-Alexander's study forms part of a special report
by The Lancet, which has issued four
major research papers on physical inactivity to coincide
with the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Two of the four papers feature UQ researchers.
Wendy Brown contributed to research on the amount of
physical exercise needed to offset the effects of sitting for eight hours a
Meanwhile Professor Brown, Dr Kolbe-Alexander and a visiting
research scholar from Brazil, Gregore Mielke also wrote a published
commentary about women's
participation in sport.
Dr Kolbe Alexander has an adjunct appointment with the
University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Media: Dr Tracy Kolbe-Alexander, firstname.lastname@example.org
, +61 7 3365
6981; Robert Burgin at UQ
+61 7 3346 3035, + 61 0448 410 364.