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Revealed: The increase in Canada’s social value from getting more active

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The benefits of engaging in sport and physical activity on an individual level may seem obvious, but if you add them up on a national level, you find enormous savings to the Canadian taxpayer and economy through. Moreover, it demonstrates Canada could reap even more rewards from encouraging more people to get active.  These are the conclusions of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC).

Two conclusions: The total value of health savings generated by sport and physical activity in 2019 was CAN$23.4 billion. Over 2.2 million cases of health conditions were prevented in 2019, as a result of sport and physical activity, including over 600,000 each for Coronary Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and Depression.

Here’s the other side. The report – using the most recent data from before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic – shows the costs of not being physically active. This highlights the benefits to both health outcomes and the Canadian economy impacted by encouraging people to take part in more sport and exercise.

FIC recently shared a study (co-produced by IHRSA and Deloitte) on the Economic Health and Societal Well-Being of the Impact of the Global Health and Fitness Sector (2022) which concluded that productivity loss, due to lack of sufficient physical activity, was valued at USD$7.9 billion annually. The same study concluded that inactivity costs the Canadian healthcare system USD$3.9 billion – of which USD$2.7 billion is borne by public health systems. Heart disease alone costs at least USD$22 billion a year to treat in Canada.

“The fitness industry has evolved in the last few years, and our role isn’t simply about physical and mental health. We are essential for social health: the gym is a place where you meet your friends, form a community and find accountability, strength and support. It is time to place a value on social health as much as squats and our running cadence!” said FIC President Sara Hodson.

Using sector data available in Canada combined with assumptions from the Social Value Calculator in the UK, 4GLOBAL and SHU identified that CAN$6.19 billion of the total Canadian social value can be attributable to activity undertaken in health and fitness clubs.

Using the Social Value Calculator from the British sports and data consultancy 4GLOBAL, the FIC has drawn on research methodology from Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) in England.

SOURCE Fitness Industry Council of Canada

If you enjoyed this article, check out The 101 on your immune system.


David Holt is the Editor of Silver Magazine and Editor-in-Chief of HUM@Nmedia, the parent brand for Silver and Optimyz magazines.

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