HCM Issue 6 2022

Page 5

ED ITO R’ S LE T TER

Global impact The urgent need to represent the industry to governments globally has led to the commissioning of a new report into its impact on GDP by the Global Health and Fitness Alliance

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obbying bodies and organisations representing the health and fitness sector around the world have been facing the consequences of the appalling lack of knowledge of the sector among political leaders and decision-makers. This challenge has been compounded by the industry’s lack of accurate data about its economic impact, leading to numerous cases where financial support has gone to other sectors, but not ours, post-lockdown reopenings have been delayed and opportunities for collaboration have been denied. Seeing the need for hard data to make the case for the sector, the Global Health and Fitness Alliance – led at the time by Greg Oliver – commissioned Deloitte to undertake a global review of its economic impact – especially in relation to health – with IHRSA swinging in behind the initiative to give support with logistics. The result, published this month, is a substantial piece of research called Economic Health and Societal Wellbeing: Quantifying the Impact of the Global Health and Fitness Sector, which is reviewed by HCM’s managing editor, Frances Marcellin, on page 64. Surveying 46 countries which represent 90 per cent of the global health and fitness market, the research team found the combination of direct and indirect impact on the global economy was US$91.22bn* a year. Deloitte said: “Not only does the industry employ millions of people around the world and generate billions in value-added to GDP, but it also has an incredibly positive influence on health outcomes. In doing so it collectively saves billions in healthcare costs, while also giving productivity benefits.” Each of the 46 countries gets its own breakdown, with figures to indicate the amount of investment needed to convert a sedentary person to be active and the economic value of doing this over their lifetime. The research makes compelling reading and will be a powerful lobbying tool when it comes to transacting with governments and advocating for the sector as we come out of the pandemic.

Each person converted to exercise boosts GDP globally

Deloitte’s research found the health and fitness industry has an overall impact on the global economy of US$91.22bn a year The task now is to keep pushing forward, to get these numbers in front of decision-makers where they can be used to make the case for change while elevating the reputation of the sector. We must also fund this research on an ongoing basis, repeating and building on it to ensure we develop a robust set of global numbers with which to drive the sector towards realising its potential. This means refining it following feedback from policymakers, for example, and tracking change to evidence ongoing and increasing impact as time goes by. Liz Terry, editor lizterry@leisuremedia.com

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*includes some double counting

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