Research project is (co)funded by the Slovenian Research Agency and by the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport.


Member of University of Ljubljana

School of Economics and Business




Impact of sports / physical activity on economic and social health costs


1.10.2022 - 30.9.2024


Daša Farčnik

Research activity

Social sciences/Economics

Research Organisation

University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Sport


The effects of low levels of sport / physical activity cause diseases that have direct and indirect costs for individuals, companies and society as a whole. With the reduction of sport / physical inactivity or with the increase of activity, individuals benefit from the improvement of the quality of life and have lower economic costs. Businesses benefit from reduced absenteeism and lower recruitment and training costs related to replacement / recruitment, while governments reduce spending on health and social services and increase tax revenues (including income tax). Thus, assessing the costs of sport/physical inactivity is important from the perspective of individuals or households, businesses, and society. At the same time, in the case of possible interventions and new policies to promote sport and physical activity, it is necessary to have a measurement tool (or model) to evaluate possible interventions.


Therefore, it is necessary to develop a methodology to estimate the direct and indirect costs of low physical activity and thus develop a measurement model and provide input data for the impact assessment for Slovenia. More specifically, it is necessary to define the relationship between sport/physical activity and health or between sport/physical inactivity and diseases in the entire population and thus to assess: 1) treatment costs; 2) (DALY); 3) productivity loss and thus the economic burden of sport/physical inactivity. Therefore, the aim of the project is to create a framework/model for economic and social evaluation of the impact of sport/physical activity on health and to assess the economic and social costs of sport/physical (in)activity in Slovenia. The model will be based on a systematic review of international research on the positive and negative effects of sport/physical activity on individual health, identification of health conditions most affected by (in)regular sport/physical (in)activity and the resulting impact of health conditions/diseases and their economic and social valuation. The model will consider the direct and indirect costs of insufficient sport/physical activity and will consist of two parts and two approaches. The first part of the model establishes a relationship between regular sport/physical activity and health or disease, methodologically based on a top-down or population-based approach, using aggregate data in combination with an estimate of the proportion attributable fraction (PAF) for physical inactivity. The second part of the model will estimate direct and indirect economic costs and is based on the use of macro and micro data. The direct costs consist of two parts: the direct costs of treatment (health care expenditures) and the costs of absence from work. Indirect costs are estimated based on the number of disability-adjusted life-years (DALY) and the associated loss of productivity. The estimation of indirect costs will be based on micro data. At the same time, the model will allow simulation of the estimation of social and economic costs for a given increase in activity.


The results of the project will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically: Goal 2: Zero Hunger; Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being; Goal 5: Gender Equality; Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth; and Goal 10: Reduce Inequality (United Nations, 2015). At the same time, the project will contribute to Slovenia's development goals (set out in the Slovenian Development Strategy 2030), namely the following goals: Goal 1: Healthy and active life, Goal 2: Knowledge and skills for quality life, Goal 11: Safe and globally responsible Slovenia.


The phases of the project and their realization

WP 1: Effects of sports/exercise activity

WP 2: Assessment of sports/physical inactivity on health in Slovenia

WP 3: Theoretical framework of economic and social evaluation of effects

WP 4: Assessment of indirect economic and social effects in Slovenia

WP 5: Recommendations


Citations for bibliographic records

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