An initiative sponsored by the Association pour la santé publique du Québec

Follow Us
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter RSS

Consequences of Physical Inactivity

Physical inactivity has serious repercussions on productivity and the number of years of life in good health [1]. Moreover, one person in ten in the world (i.e., more than 5.3 million) dies each year because of physical inactivity [2].

Impact on health

Physical inactivity is a risk factor for overweight, obesity, and numerous chronic diseases [3]:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
Among children and youth

Over the past few years, the physical condition of children and youth has deteriorated to such a point that a growing number of them present risk factors for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes [4].

Impact on public finances

Physical inactivity is responsible for a substantial portion of direct and indirect healthcare costs [5, 6]:

Costs of physical inactivity in Canada in 2009
Direct $2.4 billion
Indirect $4.3 billion
Total $6.8 billion
This represents 3.7% of total healthcare costs.

The costs associated with physical inactivity and obesity will soon reach such a level that they will absorb a considerable amount of government funding allocated to other sectors [7].

Would you like to discuss this topic with us?

Contact Corinne Voyer, Director:

[1] & [5] Global Advocacy for Physical Activity, the Advocacy Council of the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (2010). Toronto Charter for Physical Activity: A Global Call to Action. Consulted on January 14, 2013.

[2] Lee, I-M. & al. (2012). Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy. The Lancet, 380 (9838), 219-229.

[3] & [6] Janssen, I. (2012). Health care costs of physical inactivity in Canadian adults. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 37, 1-4.

[4] Comité scientifique de Kino-Québec (2011). L’activité physique, le sport et les jeunes – Savoir et agir. Québec : Secrétariat au loisir et au sport, ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport. Gouvernement du Québec.

[7] World Health Organization (2005). Preventing chronic diseases: a vital investment. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO. 

Press Room