A healthy diet, weight control and regular exercise can be considered the basis of health and well-being. An unhealthy diet and inactivity can lead to significant health and financial problems at the national level. In negative scenarios, children's school performance deteriorates and employee productivity suffers (European Commission, 2021).
In 2018, for example Finland's healthcare expenditures were 21.1 billion euros, an average of 3,829 euros per inhabitant. Compared to the previous year, healthcare expenditures increased by 1.2 percent in real terms. If there are no changes in public health, healthcare costs will continue to grow. On the other hand, with the positive development of public health, even more than a billion euros could be saved annually in health care expenses at the current price level. Correctly targeted health promotion measures therefore have significant cost effects ( THL, 2021). Studies have also found that immobility causes direct health costs of an average of 1.5 - 3.8% of total health care costs (Kolu, Vasankari and Luoto, 2014).
Taking into account the above-mentioned healthcare costs and the effects of immobility on them, we can simulate what kind of theoretical savings could be achieved with exercise places located in public places. In our example, the purchase cost of the Gritbird outdoor exercise equipment installed in connection with Oodi, Helsinki's central library, would be around €7,780. It is assumed that there would be approximately 75,000 users annually, of which 10,000 would use the device regularly. In theory, 10% of them could avoid health care costs caused by immobility, in which case the savings would rise to more than a million euros over a 15-year period. In addition, the positive effects on sick leave, productivity development and people's quality of life bring additional benefits.
Similar cost vs savings/benefit simulations can be done for several locations. Taking into account the constantly growing health care costs, it would be useful to look at investments in sports facilities in terms of the benefits they bring and long-term savings. In addition, well-designed outdoor fitness equipment brings joy to the residents of nearby areas, the value of which cannot be measured in money.
We also want to ask our followers what you think about the benefits of outdoor fitness centers and the potential savings potential for healthcare? We welcome feedback and comments about our simulations.
Regards, Gritbird Team
Kansanterveys - European Commission. 2021. Yleistä - Kansanterveys - European Commission. [online] Available at: <https://ec.europa.eu/health/nutrition_physical_activity/overview_fi> [Accessed 22 February 2021].
Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos. 2021. Terveydenhuollon menot ja rahoitus - THL. [online] Available at: <https://thl.fi/fi/tilastot-ja-data/tilastot-aiheittain/sosiaali-ja-terveydenhuollon-resurssit/terveydenhuollon-menot-ja-rahoitus> [Accessed 22 February 2021].
Kolu, P., Vasankari, T. and Luoto, R., 2014. Liikkumattomuus ja terveydenhuollon kustannukset. Suomen Lääkärilehti, [online] 12, p.885. Available at: <https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjkqdWXiILvAhWGjosKHVAUC0cQFjACegQIAhAD&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tays.fi%2Fdownload%2Fnoname%2F%257B30A7FEF9-7F56-4D00-B9E2-AF93012A68DB%257D%2F57831&usg=AOvVaw22Ff0wIOUsJVh-Pjm67wZR> [Accessed 24 February 2021].
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Helsingin Sanomat. 2021. Helsinki | Helsinki haluaa ”räjäyttää” koulujen pihat saadakseen lapset liikkumaan – ruosteinen leuanvetotanko ja ankea hiekkakenttä eivät innosta ketään. [online] Available at: <https://www.hs.fi/urheilu/art-2000007817752.html> [Accessed 22 February 2021].