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Physical Activity and Healthcare Costs: Projections for Poland in the Context of an Ageing Population


  • Małgorzata Kalbarczyk

    () (University of Warsaw)

  • Joanna Mackiewicz-Łyziak

    (University of Warsaw)


Background The proportion of older people in many countries, including Poland, is expected to increase, which will lead to a rise in healthcare costs. Objectives This study aims to analyse the impact of older adults’ physical activity on public spending on healthcare in Poland over the long term. Method To include the physical activity factor needed for our long-term projections, we modified the macro-simulation model used by the European Commission in Poland. We used the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe database to calculate the number of healthcare users depending on their level of physical activity. We used three measures of healthcare users: people with chronic diseases, people who were in hospital or visited a doctor more than once in the previous year, and people who subjectively evaluated their health as fair or poor. Results We found that a higher level of physical activity in older adults is associated with lower public expenditure on healthcare for all measures adopted. However, the magnitude of this effect differed depending on the measure used, with gains ranging from 0.4 to 1.2% of gross domestic product per year by the end of the projection horizon. Conclusion Our findings provide a strong argument for social policy in Poland to intensify the promotion of physical activity in society to decrease future healthcare costs of older adults.

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  • Małgorzata Kalbarczyk & Joanna Mackiewicz-Łyziak, 2019. "Physical Activity and Healthcare Costs: Projections for Poland in the Context of an Ageing Population," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 523-532, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:aphecp:v:17:y:2019:i:4:d:10.1007_s40258-019-00472-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s40258-019-00472-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Tordrup & Aris Angelis & Panos Kanavos, 2013. "Preferences on Policy Options for Ensuring the Financial Sustainability of Health Care Services in the Future: Results of a Stakeholder Survey," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer, vol. 11(6), pages 639-652, December.
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