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No wealth without health, says UK Active chief Huw Edwards
23 Jan 2024 . BY Kath Hudson
Wealth generation depends on nations having healthy populations / Shutterstock/Nebojsa Tatomirov
Economic growth will be a dominant political issue this year
– Huw Edwards, CEO, UK Active
As the UK's political parties set their sights on the general election in 2024, UK Active CEO, Huw Edwards, says there can be no economic growth without better health in the population.

“Economic growth will be a dominant political issue this year," he said. "The issue of ill health among working-age people needs to be a national priority for the leaders of both political parties as they seek to form the next government.

“This is an unavoidable issue which either Prime Minister Sunak or Prime Minister Starmer must begin to address in 2024. We can no longer afford to accommodate our poor national health and how we address it must now move from the fringes to the centre of the debate about our country’s future,” said Edwards. "They need to undersand there will be no wealth without health."

Poor health among working-age people is becoming an increasing concern for policymakers. Last year, the Times Health Commission enaged research outfit Oxera to report on ill health among working-age people.

The study found it cost the UK economy £150bn a year in 2023 – equivalent to 7 per cent of GDP – representing an increase of 60 per cent in the past six years.

Almost one in five people aged between 16 and 64 reports having a work-limiting health issue, with a record 2.6 million now out of work due to long-term sickness. These issues also are growing in prevalence amongst 18- to 24-year-olds, with the number leaving full-time work due to sickness doubling in the last decade.

However, new Consumer Engagement Polling from ukactive and Savanta shows people are increasingly joining gyms to manage their health, as opposed to get fit, lose weight or look good. The survey showed motivations for taking out memberships vary between managing a health condition (55 per cent), improving mental health and wellbeing (78 per cent), improving confidence (75 per cent), and preventing illness and injuries.

“These areas of motivation directly match the headline public health issues we face as a nation,” says Edwards. “The green shoots of how we seek to improve our poor health lie in these instinctive motivations [to join a health club]. The government should harness this, working in partnership with the sport and physical activity sector, to help millions more people achieve their health goals.”

Edwards believes the health and fitness sector has never been fully recognised by governments and its potential has not been realised, saying: “A recent Deloitte report indicated that the potential economic benefit, in healthcare savings and increased productivity, of getting inactive workers to be active is worth up to £17bn to the UK.”

He calls for better integration of the sector with the NHS, addressing the long-term provision of swimming pools and leisure facilities, and reforming the tax and regulatory system that suppresses the expansion ambitions of the private sector.

Additionally, employers should be able to offer staff health club memberships, or home fitness equipment as a perk and then claim the costs against tax. There should be an overhaul of VAT to incentivise gym membership – as Ireland has done – and a reform of business rates to encourage more gyms, pools and fitness facilities to open.

“The prize is substantial, with savings of up to £1bn in healthcare spending alongside the generation of an additional £3.6bn per annum in GDP uplift through increased productivity,” says Edwards.


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Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
PRODUCT NEWS
No wealth without health, says UK Active chief Huw Edwards
23 Jan 2024 . BY Kath Hudson
Wealth generation depends on nations having healthy populations / Shutterstock/Nebojsa Tatomirov
Economic growth will be a dominant political issue this year
– Huw Edwards, CEO, UK Active
As the UK's political parties set their sights on the general election in 2024, UK Active CEO, Huw Edwards, says there can be no economic growth without better health in the population.

“Economic growth will be a dominant political issue this year," he said. "The issue of ill health among working-age people needs to be a national priority for the leaders of both political parties as they seek to form the next government.

“This is an unavoidable issue which either Prime Minister Sunak or Prime Minister Starmer must begin to address in 2024. We can no longer afford to accommodate our poor national health and how we address it must now move from the fringes to the centre of the debate about our country’s future,” said Edwards. "They need to undersand there will be no wealth without health."

Poor health among working-age people is becoming an increasing concern for policymakers. Last year, the Times Health Commission enaged research outfit Oxera to report on ill health among working-age people.

The study found it cost the UK economy £150bn a year in 2023 – equivalent to 7 per cent of GDP – representing an increase of 60 per cent in the past six years.

Almost one in five people aged between 16 and 64 reports having a work-limiting health issue, with a record 2.6 million now out of work due to long-term sickness. These issues also are growing in prevalence amongst 18- to 24-year-olds, with the number leaving full-time work due to sickness doubling in the last decade.

However, new Consumer Engagement Polling from ukactive and Savanta shows people are increasingly joining gyms to manage their health, as opposed to get fit, lose weight or look good. The survey showed motivations for taking out memberships vary between managing a health condition (55 per cent), improving mental health and wellbeing (78 per cent), improving confidence (75 per cent), and preventing illness and injuries.

“These areas of motivation directly match the headline public health issues we face as a nation,” says Edwards. “The green shoots of how we seek to improve our poor health lie in these instinctive motivations [to join a health club]. The government should harness this, working in partnership with the sport and physical activity sector, to help millions more people achieve their health goals.”

Edwards believes the health and fitness sector has never been fully recognised by governments and its potential has not been realised, saying: “A recent Deloitte report indicated that the potential economic benefit, in healthcare savings and increased productivity, of getting inactive workers to be active is worth up to £17bn to the UK.”

He calls for better integration of the sector with the NHS, addressing the long-term provision of swimming pools and leisure facilities, and reforming the tax and regulatory system that suppresses the expansion ambitions of the private sector.

Additionally, employers should be able to offer staff health club memberships, or home fitness equipment as a perk and then claim the costs against tax. There should be an overhaul of VAT to incentivise gym membership – as Ireland has done – and a reform of business rates to encourage more gyms, pools and fitness facilities to open.

“The prize is substantial, with savings of up to £1bn in healthcare spending alongside the generation of an additional £3.6bn per annum in GDP uplift through increased productivity,” says Edwards.


PRODUCT NEWS
Team GB chooses Absolute Performance for Olympic gym contract for third time
Cardiff-based gym design and installation company, Absolute Performance, has been awarded the contract to design, supply and install three gyms for Team GB for the 2024 games in Paris.
Balanced Body partners with Third Space on its new group reformer pilates offering
As Third Space unveiled its latest club in Wimbledon at the end of 2023 as part of its growth development into suburban, residential locations, it also revealed a new state of the art Reformer Pilates studio at the new site in response to members seeking a low-impact, full- body workout for all abilities.
Skillcourt UK launches at The Kia Oval, London
Skillcourt UK is thrilled to announce the official launch of its innovative platform at The Kia Oval in London.
VibeShift technology delivers enhancing vibration to indoor cycling
Power Plate’s new VibeShift technology is now available on the Power Plate Rev bike.
Resolute Multi-Stations offer a configurable design
In response to the growth in strength training, Precor has launched its Resolute Multi- Stations.
Nada Rx flooring reduces stress on joints
Ecore has launched Nada Rx, an ECOsurfaces PVC-free flooring line.
Boxblitx gamifies boxing
Boxblitx, an interactive boxing fitness machine, has been designed to transform gym routines by gamifiying boxing.
Emperor Ice Baths makes global debut
Tapping into the growing interest in cold water immersion, Emperor Ice Baths has created what founder Daniel Watson calls "the most bespoke [portable] ice bath on the market".
Hyperice and Escape Fitness partner to redefine recovery
Fitness and recovery brands Hyperice and Escape Fitness have teamed up to create dedicated recovery stations for spas, gyms and high-performance sport-specific training facilities.
Pulse has added a Curved Slat Treadmill to its offering
Pulse Fitness has announced the launch of two new products: the Curved Slat Treadmill and the Multi-Functional Trainer Rack.
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Klafs acquired by Kohler from Egeria Group
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COMPANY PROFILES
Physical

Physical is the UK’s go-to, one-stop shop for commercial grade fitness equipment and flooring, with [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

03-05 Mar 2024

IBS New York

Javits Convention Center, New York, United States
20-20 Mar 2024

Global Massage Makes Me Happy & Healthy Day

Virtual, United States
+ More diary  
 


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©Cybertrek 2024

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