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Hawaii Med J. 2011 Jun;70(6):116-20.

Cost-benefit estimates of an elderly exercise program on Kaua'i.

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County of Kaua'i Agency on Elderly Affairs, Lihue, HI, USA.

Erratum in

  • Hawaii Med J. 2011 July;70(7):136.


The elderly consume a disproportionate amount of health care resources, and the recent trend in obesity will only escalate costs. EnhanceFitness® (EF) is an exercise program designed to increase the strength, flexibility, and balance of older adults. A comprehensive controlled study in Washington state of an elderly population has shown that participants who attend at least one EF class per week reduce healthcare costs by 20% per year. The present study reports the costs and potential benefits of replicating EF on Kaua'i. For Kaua'i the annual cost of an EF pilot program for 132 clients would be $204,735. Attendance records of the Kaua'i program showed that 96 (73%) of those enrolled attended at least weekly. Based on national reports of healthcare costs for the elderly, averting 20% of the costs for these 96 elderly would save $344,256 per year. The expected investment to return ratio, I-R ratio, for EF on Kaua'i is about 1-1.8. On economic grounds, a case can be made to support and expand these types of programs. In these times of budget cuts, cost-benefit analysis provides a common economic "language" to prioritize among different programs.

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