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Greater fitness tied to more cost savings in diabetic individuals

31 Oct 2019

Higher cardiorespiratory fitness may result in lower healthcare expenditures among individuals with and without diabetes, a study has shown. In addition, the association between fitness and cost savings is particularly evident among those with diabetes.

The investigators in this study quantified healthcare costs among 3,924 consecutive mean (mean age, 58±11 years) referred for a maximal exercise test and compared these according to presence (n=2,457) and absence (n=1,467) of diabetes and fitness.

Fitness was classified into four categories based on age-stratified quartiles of peak metabolic equivalents: least-fit (5.1±1.5 metabolic equivalents; n=1,044), moderately-fit (7.6±1.5 metabolic equivalents; n=938), fit (9.4±1.5 metabolic equivalents; n=988) and highly-fit (12.4±2.2 metabolic equivalents; n=954). Annual costs per individual were quantified over an 8-year period.

Age, body mass index and presence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) were comparable between participants with and without diabetes. Annual costs per person after adjusting for age and CVD presence were higher among those with vs without diabetes.

On average, annual costs (US dollars x 103) for individuals with and without diabetes in the highly-fit category were lower by $32,178 and $30,816, respectively, as compared with those in the least-fit category. For each 1-metabolic equivalent higher fitness, annual cost savings per person were $5,193 for individuals with diabetes and $3,603 for those without diabetes.

“The economic burden of diabetes may be reduced through interventions that target improvements in fitness,” the investigators said.

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Pearl Toh, 31 Dec 2019
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