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A Preliminary Analysis of Medical Expenditures Among Active and Sedentary US Adults With Mental Disorders

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Objective: To determine whether leisure-time physical activity is associated with lower direct annual medical expenditures among a sample of adults with mental disorders. Methods: Using the 1995 National Health Interview Survey and 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, differences between medical expenditures for sedentary and active persons were analyzed using ttests. Results: The per capita annual direct medical expenditure was $2785 higher for sedentary than for active persons (P<0.05). The total expenditure associated with sedentary behavior was $31.7 billion ($19.1 billion in men; $12.6 billion in women). Conclusions: Physical activity is associated with a reduced economic burden among people with mental disorders.

Keywords: exercise; inactivity; medical costs; mental health; mental illness

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Physical Activity and Health Branch, Atlanta, GA 2: US Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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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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