Direct healthcare costs associated with device assessed and self-reported physical activity: results from a cross-sectional population-based study

Background

Physical inactivity (PIA) is an important risk factor for many chronic conditions and therefore might increase healthcare utilization and costs. This study aimed to analyze the association of PIA using device assessed and self-reported physical activity (PA) data with direct healthcare costs.

Methods

Cross-sectional data was retrieved from the population based KORA FF4 study (Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg) that was conducted in southern Germany from 2013 to 2014 (n = 2279). Self-reported PA was assessed with two questions regarding sports related PA in summer and winter and categorized into “high activity”, “moderate activity”, “low activity” and “no activity”. In a subsample (n = 477), PA was assessed with accelerometers and participants were categorized into activity quartiles (“very high”, “high”, “low” and “very low”) according to their mean minutes per day spent in light intensity, or in moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA). Self-reported healthcare utilization was used to estimate direct healthcare costs. We regressed direct healthcare costs on PA using a two-part gamma regression, adjusted for age, sex and socio-demographic variables. Additional models, including and excluding potential additional confounders and effect mediators were used to check the robustness of the results.

Results

Annual direct healthcare costs of individuals who reported no sports PA did not differ from those who reported high sports PA [+€189, 95% CI: -188, 598]. In the subsample with accelerometer data, participants with very low MVPA had significantly higher annual costs than participants with very high MVPA [+€986, 95% CI: 15, 1982].

Conclusion

Device assessed but not self-reported PIA was associated with higher direct healthcare costs. The magnitude and significance of the association depended on the choice of covariates in the regression models. Larger studies with device assessed PA and longitudinal design are needed to be able to better quantify the impact of PIA on direct healthcare costs.

Germany


https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-018-5906-7