Revealed: The Increase in Canada’s Social Value from Getting More Active

Revealed: The Increase in Canada's Social Value from Getting More Active
By Fitness Industry Council of Canada

By Fitness Industry Council of Canada

Fitness Industry Council of Canada Puts a Number on the Savings Made Through Active Lifestyles

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) today reveals the enormous savings to the Canadian taxpayer and economy through the benefits of engaging in sport and physical activity, demonstrating how Canada could reap even bigger rewards from encouraging more people to get active.


Using the highly-regarded Social Value Calculator from the British sports and data consultancy 4GLOBAL, FIC has produced a report drawing on research methodology from Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) in England, and is encouraged to reveal that:

  • 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


The findings from the report – using the most recent data from before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic – builds on FIC’s increasing body of research into the costs of not being physically active, which highlights the benefits to both health outcomes and the Canadian economy impacted from the result of encouraging people to take part in more sport and exercise.


In June of this year, FIC 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 Canadai, suggesting the further untapped benefits to getting people more active are potentially huge.


“The fitness industry is about much more than physical and mental health. Our social health – community, accountability, and most importantly friendship – is as important as the bricks and mortar of our clubs. We are invested in health from every angle, and are essential for social health to rise.”, said current FIC President Sara Hodson.


“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!”, added Hodson.


4GLOBAL’s Social Value Calculator is widely used by municipal authorities and sport and leisure operators in the United Kingdom to help allocate and target resources towards communities and demographic groups which would benefit the most from increased physical activity.


The method used for the health valuation of sport and physical activity in Canada aligns with globally recognised research, previously delivered by Sheffield Hallam University on behalf of governments and national sports agencies.


Data sources for this report include the Canadian Government’s own health monitoring program, as well as research from nationally recognised health charities such as Diabetes Canada.


The objective was to calculate the number of cases of ill health prevented in Canada due to physical activity. In total, seven health conditions and sport injuries were analysed using 2019 data, including Type 2 Diabetes, Depression, and Dementia.


4GLOBAL used the estimated number of potential cases averted by sport and physical activity participation, with the average annual cost per person diagnosed with the condition, to calculate the total valuation of sport and physical activity in Canada for the 2019 calendar year.


The company estimated the potential number of cases averted by taking into account the reduced risk of disease among physically active adults; the actual prevalence of disease in the Canadian population; and, the proportion and absolute size of the Canadian population meeting the Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines.


Another objective of the study was to understand the contribution of the fitness industry to the national picture, to support with advocacy and development of industry as a whole. 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.


Commenting on the report, Eloy Mazon, Chief Executive Officer of 4GLOBAL, said: “Like many advanced nations, Canada is trying to work out how to not just recover from the pandemic, but also how to build a healthier and more resilient society.


“Analysis of the right data sets is key to understanding how to make changes and allocate resources, to best ensure people find it easy and rewarding to get more active. 4GLOBAL is proud to be able to work with Fitness Industry Council of Canada to support their mission to raise health outcomes in the country.”

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) is the not-for profit trade association that represents the voice of fitness facility operators across Canada. Representing more than 6,000 facilities with more than six-million members nationwide, FIC pursues a legislative agenda in the hope of bettering the fitness industry for both consumers and operators. FIC aims to work with both industry and government to improve the health and physical activity levels of Canadians.

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