The report investigates the benefits and costs to the health system by assessing costs due to immediate and long-term risk of injuries and the avoided health spending due to better health status.
The benefit of physical activity is calculated through the difference between the costs associated with the current levels of inactivity in Australia and the expected physical inactivity costs if the whole population was inactive.
Physical inactivity contributed to around $2.4 billion in health spending in 2018–19, making it the fourth highest spending risk factor. However, physical activity and sport prevented $1.7 billion in disease spending.
From directly associated conditions, physical activity prevented the most spending on falls ($488 million), depression ($392 million) and anxiety ($173 million).
The savings from benefits such as lower blood pressure, stronger bones and improved mental health outweigh the cost of physical activity.
Overall, sport and physical activity have a positive impact on the health system.