Health services: savings from sporting activity have tripled


A socio-economic analysis of mass and leisure sport in Austria, 1998 and 2013

In 2000 sport scientists, health economists and social scientists used a welfare economic approach to develop a cost-benefit-model of mass and leisure sport in Austria. Based on this model, they evaluated the economic costs of sport accidents and injuries as well as the benefits of sporting activity from a health economic point of view. Focusing on the years 1998 and 2013, the aim of the model was to objectify the positive and negative effects of sports on human health.


The results of the first study dating from 1998 were striking: It is not physical activity but rather the lack thereof that causes considerably higher economic costs. This is due to the fact that treatment costs incurred through sport accidents and injuries are lower than those resulting from medical conditions caused by physical inactivity. When it comes to the prevention of civilisation diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes-mellitus type II or back pain, physical activity has been found to be particularly effective. However, lack of physical activity represents one of the main sources of civilisation diseases. Sporting activity thus serves as a means to reduce costs. As the intangible value of sport, such as physical and psychological well-being is not quantifiable, it remains as a surplus.


15 years after the first study annual savings from sporting activity have tripled. This is the main result of a new cost-benefit-analysis of mass and leisure sport in Austria, based on the data from 2013. The conclusions drawn from both studies are significant: Promoting sport and physical activity as an integral part of the lifestyle in a modern healthcare and social security system not only leads to an improvement in health status and general well-being, but at the same time reduces economic costs.


A printed version of the folder is avalaible at the Department.