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Inactivity Time Bomb

Key Message

Inactivity is costing Europe's economy over 80 billion euros per year, costs that could be avoided with 20 minutes per day of inexpensive activities like walking or running. 


International Sport and Culture Association and Centre for Economics and Business Research. (2015). The economic cost of physical inactivity in Europe. Copenhagen: Denmark, ISCA/Cepr. 82 pp.


Physical inactivity is a serious public health challenge, deserving of immediate action. Due to the severe negative consequences of sedentary lifestyles, and the lack of widespread understanding of the risks, it has been said that ‘sitting is the new smoking’. This report draws together a range of existing evidence, research and data sources to examine the economic dimensions of the issue, and underline the urgency with which this problem should be tackled.


Inactivity imposes economic costs of €80.4 billion per year to the EU-28 through four major non-communicable diseases (coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, colorectal and breast cancer), and through the indirect costs of inactivity-related mood and anxiety disorders. This is equivalent to 6.2% of all European health spending; €5 billion more than the entire world spends on cancer drugs each year; or half the annual GDP of Ireland or Portugal. Looking ahead, this economic cost burden is set to rise – we conservatively estimate that 2030 could see annual costs of over €125 billion (in 2012 prices).

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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