It is well established that sedentary behaviour is an established risk factor for several diseases; however, its economic impacts are less understood. Published in Preventative Medicine last week, a paper titled “Economics of sedentary behaviour: A systematic review of cost of illness, cost-effectiveness, and return on investment studies” is the first review that has investigated the broader economic credentials of Sedentary Behaviour. The authors, Nguyen P et al., reviewed the literature on the economic costs associated with excessive sedentary behaviour and the cost-effectiveness of interventions targeting sedentary time.
The review identified nine articles. Three reported healthcare costs associated with excessive sedentary time, and found that healthcare costs associated with excessive sedentary time as reported in cost of illness studies were substantial. However, none explored non-health sector costs. In the six articles which were economic evaluations of interventions targeting sedentary behaviour, they adopted a societal perspective. However, costs included differed depending on the intervention context.
The authors concluded that excessive sedentary behaviour is likely associated with excess healthcare costs and of the limited interventions targeting sedentary behaviour reduction that have been economically evaluated, most were likely to be cost-effective. The most promising interventions from a cost-effectiveness perspective were those that included physical environmental changes in workplaces (e.g., sit-stand desk, active workstation etc.) although future research should also explore costs across other sectors.
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