Modeling the economic and health impact of increasing children's physical activity in the United States

Bruce Y. Lee, Atif Adam, Eli Zenkov, Daniel Hertenstein, Marie C. Ferguson, Peggy I. Wang, Michelle S. Wong, Patrick Wedlock, Sindiso Nyathi, Joel Gittelsohn, Saeideh Falah-Fini, Sarah M. Bartsch, Lawrence J. Cheskin, Shawn T. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Increasing physical activity among children is a potentially important public health intervention. Quantifying the economic and health effects of the intervention would help decision makers understand its impact and priority. Using a computational simulation model that we developed to represent all US children ages 8-11 years, we estimated that maintaining the current physical activity levels (only 31.9 percent of children get twenty-five minutes of high-calorie-burning physical activity three times a week) would result each year in a net present value of $1.1 trillion in direct medical costs and $1.7 trillion in lost productivity over the course of their lifetimes. If 50 percent of children would exercise, the number of obese and overweight youth would decrease by 4.18 percent, averting $8.1 billion in direct medical costs and $13.8 billion in lost productivity. Increasing the proportion of children who exercised to 75 percent would avert $16.6 billion and $23.6 billion, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-908
Number of pages7
JournalHealth Affairs
Volume36
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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