Study shows physical inactivity expensive for state

Costs exceed $1.3 billion annually in West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A study led by researchers from the West Virginia University School of Medicine shows that couch potatoes cost the state a lot of money.
Total costs of physical inactivity exceed $1.3 billion annually, with more than $1 billion attributed to lost worker productivity, more than $245 million to medical care and more than $291,000 to workers’ compensation, the researchers said.

In addition, George Kelley, D.A., and Kristi Kelley estimated how much money would be saved annually if only 5 percent of the state’s adults who are currently inactive became physically active on a regular basis – some $108 million per year.

“While these are only general estimates, the message is clear: being physically inactive is expensive for the state of West Virginia,” Kelley said.

Data are from 2005, the most recent year with complete information available.

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that adults participate in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity of at least 10 minutes in duration (brisk walking, for example) or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity of at least 10 minutes per session (jogging, for example).

The study is published in the May issue of the West Virginia Medical Journal, the journal of the West Virginia State Medical Association.


For more information:
Angela Jones, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
asj: 05-22-09

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