The real cost of physical inactivity

Dr Suzanne Pearson
September 19, 2016

The hype of the Olympic and Paralympic Games brings out the aspiring athlete in all of us. But with physical activity, there’s no need to be an Olympian.


Turns out when it comes to making a move, we’re not giving ourselves a sporting chance. In fact, a recent study estimated the global economic burden of physical inactivity was US$67.5 billion in 2013; of which Australia picked up an $805 million tab. Yikes. C’mon Aussies.

The study published in The Lancet is the first ever to provide a global estimate of the costs associated with an increasingly sedentary world. Researchers included data from 142 countries, representing 93.2 percent of the global population. The costs included healthcare expenditure, lost productivity and disability‑adjusted life years (DALYs) for the big five lifestyle diseases associated with physical inactivity: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.


From viewing sport to doing sport

If sport can change the world, then regular activity can change yours. A handy starting point is the Department of Health’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. Limit the hours on your behind if you value your health and wellbeing.


Here’s 3 ways to make your move, tried and tested by the team here at Swisse.

  • Make like Olympic walker Jared Tallent and power through your meeting on foot instead of Powerpoint as practiced by Swisse’s Communications team. The real blue sky thinking.
  • Set your time like Swisse’s science team and use your phone, computer or smart watch to set an idle alert, getting up every 30mins to one hour. Genius.
  • Appoint your coach like Swisse’s warehouse team and take advantage of the motivation and accountability group training can bring.


Dr Suzanne Pearson& PhD, MNutrDiet, APD,& BSc (Hons) is the Global Scientific & Medical Affairs Manager at Swisse Wellness