Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The burden of physical activity on type 2 diabetes public healthcare expenditures among adults: a retrospective study

Jamile S Codogno1, Rômulo A Fernandes24*, Flávia M Sarti3, Ismael F Freitas Júnior14 and Henrique L Monteiro1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physical Education. UNESP Univ Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, Brazil

2 Department of Physical Education. Universidade do Oeste Paulista - UNOESTE, Presidente Prudente, Brazil

3 School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities. Universidade de São Paulo - USP, São Paulo, Brazil

4 Department of Physical Education. UNESP Univ Estadual Paulista, Presidente Prudente, Brazil

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:275  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-275

Published: 4 May 2011



Determinants of public healthcare expenditures in type 2 diabetics are not well investigated in developing nations and, therefore, it is not clear if higher physical activity decreases healthcare costs. The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship between physical activity and the expenditures in public healthcare on type 2 diabetes mellitus treatment.


Cross-sectional study carried out in Brazil. A total of 121 type 2 diabetics attended to in two Basic Healthcare Units were evaluated. Public healthcare expenditures in the last year were estimated using a specific standard table. Also evaluated were: socio-demographic variables; chronological age; exogenous insulin use; smoking habits; fasting glucose test; diabetic neuropathy and anthropometric measures. Habitual physical activity was assessed by questionnaire.


Age (r = 0.20; p = 0.023), body mass index (r = 0.33; p = 0.001) and waist-to-hip ratio (r = 0.20; p = 0.025) were positively related to expenditures on medication for the treatment of diseases other than diabetes. Insulin use was associated with increased expenditures. Higher physical activity was associated with lower expenditure, provided medication for treatment of diseases other than diabetes (OR = 0.19; p = 0.007) and medical consultations (OR = 0.26; p = 0.029).


Type 2 diabetics with higher enrollment in physical activity presented consistently lower healthcare expenditures for the public healthcare system.

Diabetes Mellitus; expenditures; physical activity