Icons / Login Created with Sketch.
Icons / User Created with Sketch.

Physical activity, sitting time and BMI: relationships with health care services, medicines, and health costs over 20 years in young and mid-age Australian women


Several ALSWH analyses have already examined associations between physical activity, siting time and BMI with overall health care costs, both cross-sectionally and over shorter time periods. In this work we would like to examine the CUMULATIVE effects of these variables from 1996 to 2015/2016, and their JOINT associations with indicators of health service use, medicines and costs, in the 1973-78 and 1946-51 cohorts). (For example, we know that costs are higher for women with high BMI; by how much does physical activity attenuate this effect? We suspect that sitting time may also be associated with higher costs, but is this relationship exacerbated by high BMI or attenuated by high physical activity?). Instead of focussing only on overall costs, in this work we would like to examine the linked data to assess relationships with actual use of health services (in broad groups, for example, annual number of GP visits, specialist visits, use of allied health services), PBS medicines (including examination of the top twenty most frequently used by each cohort), and hospital services. This study will analyse how patterns of physical activity, siting time and BMI over 15-16 years are associated with use of health services and costs in the last 3-4 years (depending on availability of linked data). In other words, we want to see whether patterns of behaviours in the earlier years predict later use of health services, medicines, and costs in the young (73-78) and mid-age (46-51) cohorts. The results will inform the development of prevention and promotion strategies which may reduce health care costs in the long term.