WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The global economy could earn $ 100 billion a year if employers succeed in encouraging employees to follow the World Health Organization’s guidelines on exercise, a recent scientific study has found.
The study, which examines the impact of physical activity on economic performance, conducted by Vitaly Group for Medical Insurance and Rand Europe Research Center, found that walking for an additional quarter of an hour, or running lightly for one kilometer every day, will boost productivity and increase life expectancy. Eventually, economic growth improved.
The improvement in the economy will result from a decline in mortality, which means that more workers will survive and contribute to the economy for longer, as well as a reduction in sick days, the study authors said.
Hans Bong, head of the RAND Europe, said the study highlighted a “strong correlation between inactivity and shrinking productivity” and should give policymakers and employers “a new perspective on how to boost productivity.”
The WHO recommends that all adults exercise at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.
Nearly 40 percent of adults in the United States, 36 percent in Britain and 14 percent in China are doing a very little exercise, the group found in a study released last year.
Part of the RAND and Vitaly study is based on data from about 120,000 people from seven countries. The study envisaged the economic benefits of increased physical activity globally and in 23 individual countries.
It found that if all workers, aged between 18 and 64, exercised for an extra quarter of an hour a day, it could boost global economic production by about $ 100 billion on an annual basis.
It also found that the life expectancy of those over the age of 40, who are not physically active, may increase on average 3.2 years if they exercise light running for 20 minutes a day