Online Program

Physical Activity Improves Health and Reduces Medical Cost

Monday, November 2, 2015

Marquinta Harvey, M.S., Onlife Health, Brentwood, TN
Catherine Bass, Ph.D, Onlife Health, Brentwood, TN
Norman L. Weatherby, Ph.D., Department of Health and Human Performance, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
Introduction: Understanding physical activity’s effect on medical claims cost and the amount of time required to have sustained improvements in biometric risk factors has not been widely documented.

Methods:  A three year retrospective study (n = 5,060) abstracted from a large US medical insurer was analyzed. Complex sample frequencies and logistic regression analysis were utilized to calculate prevalence estimates and odds ratios, respectively, focusing on biometrics and claims cost.

Results: Active persons had 11.7% lower medical costs than sedentary persons. Beginning a moderately active lifestyle brought about a one year reduction in medical claims costs by 42.4%. Sedentary participants were more likely to be overweight 2.1 (95%CI 1.24-3.70) and have diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of 90 or above 1.3 (95%CI 0.77-2.27) than those who were active. The effect was more pronounced among women, with sedentary women being more likely to be overweight 3.7 (95%CI 0.43-3.19) and have elevated DBP 1.6 (95%CI 1.62-8.36) compared to active women.

The effect is strongest among mid-life and older adults. The sedentary population over 60 were more likely to be overweight 6.1 (95%CI 1.88-19.60), have systolic blood pressure of 120 or above 10.5 (95%CI 2.08-46.82), and DBP 5.4 (95%CI 1.81-16.02) than their active counterparts. Furthermore, sedentary 50-59 year olds are more likely to be overweight 3.3 (95%CI 1.28-8.28) than their active peers.

Conclusion: Physical activity has a beneficial impact on medical costs and is highly effective at reducing hypertension and obesity, especially for mid-life and older adults.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Explain how increased physically activity has a beneficial impact on health and medical cost of mid-life and older adults.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Aging

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a bio-statistical research analyst and doctoral student with a strong background research design and wellness. Among my scientific interests has been engaging working populations in preventative health measures and data analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Onlife Health Informatics Employment (includes retainer)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.