23 October 2014

Economic costs of physical inactivity


This evidence briefing summarises the key facts on the total cost of disease and the costs that can be attributed to physical inactivity for:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • cancer
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • falls.

The document is designed to provide physical activity and health professionals, commissioners and policy makers with the key facts to help build an economic argument for the need to decrease levels of physical inactivity within the population.

It also provides real world examples of potential savings that could be made from increases in physical activity levels.

Key findings

  • Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of global mortality.
  • In 2006/2007, heart disease due to physical inactivity was estimated to cost the NHS £542 million.
  • Type 2 diabetes due to physical inactivity was estimated to cost the NHS £158 million (2006/2007).
  • In 2006/2007, over £5 billion was spent on overweight/obesity-related ill health, including costs incurred from poor diet and physical inactivity.

This document was originally part-funded by the County Sports Partnership Network (in 2013). The update of this document was part-funded by Public Health England (in 2014).

Download: Economic costs of physical inactivity