A1 Journal article (refereed)
Economic burden of low physical activity and high sedentary behaviour in Finland (2022)

Kolu, P., Kari, J. T., Raitanen, J., Sievänen, H., Tokola, K., Havas, E., Pehkonen, J., Tammelin, T. H., Pahkala, K., Hutri-Kähönen, N., Raitakari, O. T., & Vasankari, T. (2022). Economic burden of low physical activity and high sedentary behaviour in Finland. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 76(7), 677-684. https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2021-217998

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Kolu, Päivi; Kari, Jaana T; Raitanen, Jani; Sievänen, Harri; Tokola, Kari; Havas, Eino; Pehkonen, Jaakko; Tammelin, Tuija H; Pahkala, Katja; Hutri-Kähönen, Nina; et al.

Journal or series: Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

ISSN: 0143-005X

eISSN: 1470-2738

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 26/04/2022

Volume: 76

Issue number: 7

Pages range: 677-684

Publisher: BMJ

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2021-217998

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/80864


Background Low physical activity and high sedentary behaviour are unquestionably relevant for public health while also increasing direct and indirect costs.

Methods The authors examined the direct and indirect costs attributable to low physical activity and high sedentary behaviour in Finland in 2017. Costs related to major non-communicable diseases drawn from Finnish registries covered direct costs (outpatient visits, days of inpatient care, medication and institutional eldercare) and indirect costs (sickness-related absences, disability pensions, unemployment benefits, all-cause mortality and losses of income tax revenue). Prevalences of low physical activity and high sedentary behaviour (≥8 hours per 16 waking hours) were based on self-reports among adolescents or accelerometer data among adults and the elderly from three Finnish population studies: FINFIT 2017, Health 2011 and the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. Cost calculations used adjusted population attributable fractions (PAF) and regression models. Total annual costs were obtained by multiplying PAF by the total costs of the given disease.

Results The total costs of low physical activity in Finland in 2017 came to approximately €3.2 billion, of which direct costs accounted for €683 million and indirect ones for €2.5 billion. Costs attributable to high sedentary behaviour totalled roughly €1.5 billion.

Conclusion The findings suggest that low physical activity and high sedentary behaviour levels create substantial societal costs. Therefore, actions intended to increase physical activity and reduce excessive sedentary behaviour throughout life may yield not only better health but also considerable savings to society.

Keywords: physical activity; physical training; health effects; immobility; sitting; prevalence of a condition; sickness absences; communicable diseases; incapacity for work; disability pensions; mortality; costs; economic effects; health economics

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2023-30-08 at 08:57