The association between physical activity and hospital payments for acute admissions in the Australian population aged 45 and over

Amir Marashi, Shima Ghassem Pour, Vincy Li, Chris Rissel, Federico Girosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Physical activity (PA) is a key component of a healthy life, and it is hypothesised that individuals with higher levels of PA utilise fewer hospital resources. Quantifying the association between PA and hospital resource use is of interest to both payers and planners but estimates of its size in the general population are rare. In this paper we provide estimates of the association between PA and payments to hospitals in the Australian population over age 45. We use data from 45 and Up Study, a survey that contains health and lifestyle factors information about approximately 260,000 individuals over age 45 living in NSW, linked to hospital and death data. The linked data set allows to define a unique indicator for the level of PA over the week prior to the survey interview and to calculate payments to hospitals over the next year. We use Coarsened Exact Matching and multivariate analysis to study the relationship between PA and hospital payments, controlling for chronic health conditions, risk factors, standard socioeconomic variables and death. Our results clearly indicate that there is a statistically significant association between PA and lower hospital payments. While the size of the association depends to some extent on the covariates used in the model the conclusions are robust to changes in model specification. We also perform a sub-group analysis and show that the cost savings associated with PA are significantly larger for older and lower income populations. This study shows that if one is interested in lowering hospital expenditures then increasing PA levels is a policy that has the potential of being effective. It also shows that one does not need to target the entire population to achieve cost savings but can limit the intervention to the older population and/or the one in the lowest socioeconomic status.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0218394
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2019 Marashi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License: (the “License”), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Notwithstanding the ProQuest Terms and Conditions, you may use this content in accordance with the terms of the License.


  • physical activity
  • acute admissions
  • age 45 and over
  • hospital payments
  • Australian population


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