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Does Physical Inactivity Influence Productivity in the Workplace and Labour Market Outcomes?


Midlands Engine




The Midlands Engine
Active Together (Active Partnership)

Project Team

Professor David Broom 

Dr. Darren Richardson

Dr. Maxine Whelan

Professor Michael Duncan


March 2023 – October 2023

Project Overview

The Midlands Engine commissioned the Physical Activity and Health theme to explore the relationship between physical activity and physical inactivity, productivity and labour market outcomes.

This work aimed to place value on the importance of physical activity in policy solutions in the medium - long term, as well as develop and validate short-term interventions in delivering health and economic outcomes to individuals and the Midlands economy.
This project consisted of two work packages:

  • Work Package 1) - A systematic scoping review to begin to answer the question: Does physical inactivity reduce labour market participation and productivity? Key issues and themes emerged to inform the questioning used in work package 2.
  • Work package 2) - A Delphi study in which people completed a questionnaire and were then invited to participate in focus groups to discuss pertinent issues highlighted in the review and related to physical inactivity and productivity.

Project Objectives

  • Establish if there is a link between labour market participation and physical activity / inactivity.
  • Examine the implementation of PA interventions in the workplace. Taking a holistic approach as to what we need to be looking at.
  • Fast track a conversation about why PA might be good for the labour market – what contributes to people leaving the labour market?
  • What policy asks will come from it and what are the key issues?
  • What impact could physical activity have on the Midlands which has a productivity gap of £85 billion?

Project Outputs

  • Full Technical Report submitted to the Midlands Engine
  • Insight report
  • Systematic Scoping Review journal paper
 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023