New Deloitte China Report Reveals Health and Fitness Sector Contributes Up to $91.22 Billion Annually to Global GDP

GHFA, IHRSA and Deloitte released the report “Economic Health and Societal Wellbeing: Quantifying the Impact of the Global Health and Fitness Industry”

The authors calculate the monetary value of the health and fitness industry relative to GDP and healthcare

Shows how turning inactive individuals into active ones is key to reducing healthcare costs and increasing GDP

It was made public at the IHRSA 2022 event and analyzes the industry’s impact on 46 countries and territories, finding a total impact of US$91.22 billion.

A new Deloitte China report, outlining the social and economic value of the global health and fitness industry, has been released by the Global Health & Fitness Alliance (GHFA), in collaboration with IHRSA.

The 418-page document – Economic health and societal well-being: quantifying the impact of the global health and fitness sector – describes the impact of the health and fitness industry on GDP and healthcare systems around the world, as well as specific activities in 46 different countries and territories. It identified a total impact of up to $91.22 billion per year*.

The premise of the report is that the industry is a major contributor to global GDP and employment and that its presence – through gyms, clubs and physical facilities – increases activity levels in the local community. , which increases GDP and reduces health care costs.

By reviewing existing data, academic studies and industry reports, the authors devised a way to indicate the impact of the industry, on the one hand by explaining the economic impact of absenteeism and presenteeism, and on the other hand by citing how much an inactive worker in each country or territory costs the economy.

This figure is critical, as the report makes tangible recommendations, suggesting that investing a similar amount to help inactive people adopt exercise habits would generate GDP and health system benefits, resulting in a return on investment for the economy after only one year.

By evaluating economic data and studies, the report shows how active citizens create value-added GDP, which reduces health care costs as well as absenteeism and presenteeism.

The studies reviewed come from organizations such as the World Bank, OECD and the World Health Organization (WHO), while the researchers also studied academic papers – such as RAND (2019), which found that inactive people lost 2.6 to 3.71 days of work time due to presenteeism and a Lancet– released a report that found that inactivity was costing healthcare systems US$53.8 billion globally, as of 2013.

“This report begins to paint a picture of the impact of the industry on the health of the population and the economic impact of the industry,” reads the foreword from the GHFA and the IHRSA. “Not only does the industry employ millions of people worldwide and generate billions in added value to GDP, but it also has an incredibly positive influence on health outcomes. In doing so, the industry collectively saves billions in healthcare costs and productivity gains.

The presentation of the report for each country or territory begins with its status in figures relating to GDP per capita, health expenditure as a percentage of GDP, disposable income per capita, aging trends, percentage of insufficient activity and the level of obesity. Health trends and government initiatives follow, followed by economic impact.

For the UK, for example, the health and fitness industry in 2021 had a direct added value of US$3 billion and supported an additional US$1.5 billion added value in its supply chain. supply as well as 50,100 jobs. Deloitte then reveals the economic benefit for each inactive worker who becomes active.

Exercise is associated with health improvements such as reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, dementia, depression, anxiety and a range of cancers, including breast, colon, bladder, kidney, lung and stomach. By linking the impact of activity to GDP and healthcare costs, Deloitte demonstrates how adopting physical exercise can ease the burden on the healthcare system, while increasing GDP.

Inactivity costs the UK health system $4.3 billion a year according to the report, of which $3.6 billion is covered by the public health system. Every year, the UK loses 43.8 million working days due to absenteeism and presenteeism, costing the UK economy $16.5 billion a year.

He concludes that each inactive worker costs the economy US$1,713 per year and that investing US$1,700 to help an inactive person become active results in a return on investment in less than a year.

In the United States, inactivity costs the health care system $84.7 billion, each inactive worker costs the economy $3,447 a year, and an investment of $3,000 is suggested to turn inactive people into regular athletes. .

In Spain, inactivity costs the health system US$7.2 billion, it loses 19.8 million working days in absenteeism and presenteeism and each inactive worker costs the economy US$1,978 (recommended investment of US$2,000 per inactive person).

In China, inactivity costs the healthcare system $15.3 billion, while the country loses 381.5 million working days through absenteeism and presenteeism, and each inactive worker costs the economy $466 (with a recommended investment of $400 per person).

“The good news is that if implemented correctly, programs to increase exercise can be habit-forming (Kaushal & Rhodes, 2015),” reads the report. “An initial investment in one year can pay off for years if a habit is developed.”

The report’s authors, Alan McCharles, Partner at Deloitte China, Adrian Xu, Director at Deloitte China and Nicholas Young, Senior Partner at Deloitte China, also conducted interviews with industry stakeholders to shed light on some of the problems with the current government and industry. perceptions, collaboration and integration. He also highlighted how they work together in China, the United States and Japan.

One of the issues raised is that governments view gym memberships as a recreational activity rather than an investment in health. In the UK gym membership is subject to 20% VAT, while in Belgium the use of sports facilities only has a rate of 6%.

Stakeholders have suggested that purchases like this should come with a more favorable tax rate.

Personal training programs, physical activity policies and exercise as preventative care are suggested as ways in which governments could work with the health and fitness industry to drive the transformation of inactive people .

The most established fitness markets – as measured by adult penetration rates – are Sweden (34%), US (30%), UK (23%), Australia (23% ) and Germany (22%).

Fast-growing markets include Hong Kong (8%), Singapore (7%), Japan (6%) and China (6%).

Underdeveloped markets are Malaysia (1.5%), Thailand (0.7%), Vietnam (0.7%) and India (0.2%).

According to the GHFA and IHRSA, the 46 countries and territories chosen to be included in the study represent approximately 90% of global GDP. These are Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China (PRC), Chinese Taipei, Colombia , Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece and Hong Kong SAR – China. , Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden , Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

To access the report, visit

*Some double counting has been identified in this number.

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