Sport and health. The effects of sport on health – a socio-economic analysis


On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, this study was conducted by the Austrian Sports Organisation in cooperation with the Department of Sport Science at the University of Vienna and the Institute “Sicher Leben”. Health economists, sports physicians, and social scientists used an interdisciplinary approach to  develop a welfare economic cost-benefit-model regarding leisure sports in Austria. With the help of this model, costs p.a. to the economy of injuries and accidents in connection with sports were compared with benefits p.a. of sport activities to the economy in terms of better health. The main goal of this study was to objectively determine the positive and negative effects of sport.

Results show that the economic cost of low sport participation is much higher than the cost associated with higher sport participation. That is to say, more sports is cheaper than no sport. Immaterial values of sport, such as mental, physical, and social well-being, cannot be quantified however they act as an additional bonus.

In conclusion it can be said that the promotion of sport and exercise as a part of lifestyle in modern health and social systems not only benefits general wellbeing; it also decreases economic costs.