Net benefit of participation

This project has attempted to develop a more complete characterisation of the epidemiology of physical activity, to better understand the impact of physical activity on the health system. Until now, no attempt has been made to look at both health system spending related to physical activity as well as spending that was avoided because of participation in physical activity on a population level. These estimates are modelled using a variety of data sources and methods, and should be viewed as indicative only. Further estimation will be undertaken using a population simulation model. For details on how these estimates are derived, refer to Methods and data sources.

In 2018-19, it was estimated that a total of $1.7 billion of health system spending was avoided due to the level of physical activity, including sport, undertaken in Australia. At the same time, $1.2 billion was spent on injuries incurred while undertaking physical activity, and $149 million was spent on osteoarthritis due to previous injury from physical activity. Overall, sport and physical activity had a net positive impact on the health system of $321 million (Figure 19). The overall benefit was higher for females ($333 million) than males ($69 million), predominantly due to the lower cost of injuries among females. Note that costs from injuries in this analysis include costs for all age groups, while benefits from prevented chronic diseases are modelled for Australians aged 20 and older.  

Figure 19: Benefits and costs of physical activity by sex, millions, 2018-19.

Alt text: Bar chart showing the total benefit and total costs (from injury and osteoarthritis) due to participation in physical activity and sport for males and females. The net benefit was $333 million for females, and $69 million for males in 2018-19.

For more detail, see data tables.