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Does Physical Activity Reduce Seniors' Need for Health Care? : A Study of 24,281 Canadians
  1. John C Woolcott1,
  2. Maureen C Ashe1,
  3. William C Miller1,
  4. Peilin Shi2,
  5. Carlo Marra1,*
  1. 1 University of British Columbia, Canada;
  2. 2 Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife, Canada
  1. Correspondence to: Carlo Marra, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, Collaboration for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE), Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2146 East Mall, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z3, Canada; cmarra{at}


Objective: Physical inactivity has been associated with significant increases in disease morbidity and mortality. This study assessed the association between physical activity and 1) healthcare resource utilizations and 2) healthcare resource utilization costs.

Design and participants: The responses from 24,281 respondents >65 years of age to the Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle 1.1 were utilized to find activity levels and determine healthcare utilization and costs. Logistic regression was completed to assess risks of hospitalization.

Results: Physical inactivity was associated with statistically significant increases to hospitalizations, lengths of stay and healthcare visits (p<0.01). Average healthcare costs (2008 Canadian $) for the physically inactive were $1214.15 greater than the healthcare costs of the physically active ($2005.27 vs. $791.12, p<0.01).

Conclusion: Among those >65 years of age, physical activity is strongly association with reduced healthcare utilization and costs.

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