Lack of exercise by South Tynesiders is contributing to a range of long-term diseases, landing the National Health Service with an annual bill of £4.1m.
Almost half of the cash is being spent on the borough’s 7,400 heart disease sufferers, according to figures released by the British Heart Foundation.
It is staggering the amount of money that inactivity is costing health services in South Tyneside every year.Catherine Kelly, director of prevention, survival and support at BHF, said
In South Tyneside, the cost of heart disease alone, put down to people not taking enough exercise, stands at £2.2m a year.
Heart disease and stroke also account for more than a fifth of all deaths in the borough and more than a quarter of deaths of people under the age of 75.
Experts at the foundation say that regular physical activity will not only reduce NHS costs but could also help lower the risks of developing diseases and, in turn, prolong lives.
Catherine Kelly, director of prevention, survival and support at the charity, said: “It is staggering the amount of money that inactivity is costing health services in South Tyneside every year.
“Encouraging people to be more active and less sedentary will help reduce their risk of heart disease and will save millions of pounds for health services.
Dr Roberta Marshall, director of Public Health England in the North East, added: ‘Insufficient physical activity is the fourth greatest cause of ill-health in the UK and is responsible for one in six deaths, making it as dangerous as smoking and obesity and costing the country an estimated £7.4bn a year.
“A wealth of evidence shows that an active life plays a crucial role in physical and mental health and wellbeing.
“A number of diseases are currently on the increase and affecting people at an earlier age.
“These include cancer and diabetes, and conditions like hypertension.
“Regular physical activity can guard us against all of these as well as helping combat depression.”