The economic cost of physical inactivity in China

Prev Med. 2013 Jan;56(1):75-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.11.010. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


Objective: To estimate the total economic burden of physical inactivity in China.

Method: The costs of physical inactivity combine the medical and non-medical costs of five major Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) associated with inactivity. The national data from the Chinese Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance Surveys (2007) and the National Health Service Survey (2003) are used to compute population attributable risks (PARs) of inactivity for each major NCD. Costs specific to inactivity are obtained by multiplying each disease costs by the PAR for each NCD, by incorporating the inactivity effects through overweight and obesity.

Results: Physical inactivity contributes between 12% and 19% to the risks associated with the five major NCDs in China, namely coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Physical inactivity is imposing a substantial economic burden on the country, as it is responsible alone for more than 15% of the medical and non-medical yearly costs of the main NCDs in the country.

Conclusions: The high economic burden of physical inactivity implies the need to develop more programs and interventions that address this modifiable behavioral risk, in order to curb the rising NCDs epidemic in China.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Chronic Disease / economics
  • Coronary Disease / economics
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / economics
  • Neoplasms / economics
  • Obesity / economics
  • Overweight / economics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Stroke / economics