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Impact of Physical Activity on Medical Expenditures Among Adults Downhearted and Blue

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Objective: To examine inactivity-associated medical expenditures in adults, controlling for frequency of feeling down-hearted/blue. Methods: Using the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey (N=12,250), expenditures were analyzed by comparison and multivariate models. Expenditures were updated to 2003 dollars. Results: Medical expenditure was $354 (t=3.80, P<0.01) lower for active than inactive persons: 6.1% of the expenditure ($133 in 1987, $429 in 2003) was inactivity associated. The total inactivity-associated expenditure was near $12 billion in 1987 ($38 billion in 2003). Conclusions: Medical expenditure increased with frequency of feeling down-hearted/blue and was higher for inactive than active people.

Keywords: depressive symptoms; inactivity; medical costs

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Physical Activity and Health Branch, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Publication date: May 1, 2004

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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