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The external costs of a sedentary life-style

Author

Listed:
  • Keeler, E.B.
  • Manning, W.G.
  • Newhouse, J.P.
  • Sloss, E.M.
  • Wasserman, J.

Abstract

Using data from the National Health Interview Survey and the RAND Health Insurance Experiment, we estimated the external costs (costs borne by others) of a sedentary life-style. External costs stem from additional payments received by sedentary individuals from collectively financed programs such as health insurance, sick-leave coverage, disability insurance, and group life insurance. Those with sedentary life-styles incur higher medical costs, but their life expectancy at age 20 is 10 months less so they collect less public and private pensions. The pension costs come late in life, as do some of the medical costs, and so the estimate of the external cost is sensitive to the discount rate used. At a 5 percent rate of discount, the lifetime subsidy from others to those with a sedentary life style is $1,900. Our estimate of the subsidy is also sensitive to the assumed effect of exercise on mortality. The subsidy is a rationale for public support of recreational facilities such as parks and swimming pools and employer support of programs to increase exercise.

Suggested Citation

  • Keeler, E.B. & Manning, W.G. & Newhouse, J.P. & Sloss, E.M. & Wasserman, J., 1989. "The external costs of a sedentary life-style," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 79(8), pages 975-981.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:1989:79:8:975-981_6
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    Cited by:

    1. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," NBER Working Papers 8946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Nazmi Sari, 2009. "Physical inactivity and its impact on healthcare utilization," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(8), pages 885-901, August.
    3. Melayne M. McInnes & Judith A. Shinogle, 2011. "Physical Activity: Economic and Policy Factors," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 249-282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Nazmi Sari, 2011. "Does Physical Exercise Affect Demand for Hospital Services? Evidence from Canadian Panel Data," Chapters, in: Plácido Rodríguez & Stefan Késenne & Brad R. Humphreys (ed.), The Economics of Sport, Health and Happiness, chapter 4, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Johannesson Magnus & Östling Robert & Ranehill Eva, 2010. "The Effect of Competition on Physical Activity: A Randomized Trial," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-31, September.
    6. Inas Rashad & Michael Grossman & Shin-Yi Chou, 2006. "The Super Size of America: An Economic Estimation of Body Mass Index and Obesity in Adults," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 133-148, Winter.
    7. Tomas Philipson, 2001. "The world‐wide growth in obesity: an economic research agenda," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(1), pages 1-7, January.
    8. Nazmi Sari, 2014. "Sports, Exercise, And Length Of Stay In Hospitals: Is There A Differential Effect For The Chronically Ill People?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(2), pages 247-260, April.
    9. Tomas Philipson & Richard Posner, 2008. "Is the Obesity Epidemic a Public Health Problem? A Decade of Research on the Economics of Obesity," NBER Working Papers 14010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Sari, Nazmi & Lechner, Michael, 2015. "Long-run health effects of sports and exercise in Canada," Economics Working Paper Series 1520, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    11. Peter J. Huckfeldt & Darius N. Lakdawalla & Tomas J. Philipson, 2012. "Economics of Obesity," Chapters, in: Andrew M. Jones (ed.), The Elgar Companion to Health Economics, Second Edition, chapter 7, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Lakdawalla, Darius & Philipson, Tomas, 2009. "The growth of obesity and technological change," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 283-293, December.

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