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 editorsKolu, 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 seriesJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health



Publication year2022

Publication date26/04/2022


Issue number7

Pages range677-684


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially 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.

Keywordsphysical activityphysical traininghealth effectsimmobilitysittingprevalence of a conditionsickness absencescommunicable diseasesincapacity for workdisability pensionsmortalitycostseconomic effectshealth economics

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 00:26