Wed, Dec 7, 2016 | updated 09:55 PM IST

Here`s how much couch potatoes are costing the world

Updated: Jul 28, 2016 16:26 IST

Washington D.C, Jul 28 (ANI): A world-first study has revealed that in 2013, physical inactivity cost 67.5 billion international dollars globally in healthcare expenditure and lost productivity, revealing the enormous economic burden of an increasingly sedentary world.

The study, led by Dr Melody Ding from University of Sydney, provides the first-ever global estimate of the financial cost of physical inactivity by examining the direct health-care cost, productivity losses, and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for five major non-communicable diseases attributable to inactivity: coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.

Based on data from 142 countries, representing 93.2 per cent of the world's population, the researchers conservatively estimated that in 2013 the effect of physical inactivity on these diseases and all-cause mortality cost the world economy more than 67.5 billion international dollars.

"Physical inactivity is recognised as a global pandemic that not only leads to diseases and early deaths, but imposes a major burden to the economy," said lead author Dr Melody Ding.

"Based on our data, physical inactivity costs the global economy 67.8 billion international dollars in 2013, with Australia footing a bill of more than AUD 805 million. At a global and individual country level these figures are likely to be an underestimate of the real cost, because of the conservative methodologies used by the team and lack of data in many countries.

Counting the cost of global of inactivity in 2013 (International dollars):

- 67.5bn: Total costs, including $53.8bn in direct cost (healthcare expenditure) and 13.7bn in indirect costs (productivity losses)

- 31.2bn: Total loss in tax revenue through public healthcare expenditure

- 12.9bn: Total amount in private sector pays for physical inactivity-related diseases (e.g. health insurance companies)

- 9.7bn: Total amount households paid out-of-pocket for physical inactivity-related diseases

Type 2 Diabetes was the costliest disease, accounting for 37.6bn dollars (70pc) of direct costs.

"Our study has shown that the economic burden of physical inactivity is distributed unequally across regions, and disproportionately with high-income countries bearing a larger proportion of economic burden and low and middle-income countries having a larger proportion of the disease burden," Dr Ding said.

"This study provides a better understanding of the true burden of the pandemic of physical inactivity, and provides useful information for policy making, funding allocation and benchmarking in global prevention of non-communicable diseases," she said.

Adrian Bauman of the University of Sydney said: "This research provides further justification to prioritise promotion of regular physical activity worldwide as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce non-communicable diseases."

The study is published in The Lancet. (ANI)