Two New Zealand industry leaders have been appointed to the very first major global council on health and fitness, the Global Health and Fitness Alliance, set up by the international health racket and sports club association (IHRSA).
They are ExerciseNZ chief executive Richard Beddie and Les Mills International’s Anna Henwood. The group is all about collaboration globally, and getting more people physically active, Beddie said.
“IHRSA has already done a lot of work with the World Health Organisation, whom I have worked with for a number of years now to get people more into activity,” Beddie said.
“The global fitness alliance (GHFA) chair Greg Oliver is chief executive of the largest group of gyms in Asia Pacific (Fitness and Lifestyle Group). In New Zealand the group is represented by the Jetts brand.
“Our first big piece of work is to set up major global research on the economic and social benefits of exercise and is being overseen by Deloitte.
“It will be the first work of its kind globally. We can make the world a healthier place and create a better future for our industry.
“We aim to use the findings from this to present to governments around the world so they can start thinking long term when it comes to the health and social benefits of exercise and movement.”
The Global Health and Fitness Association is investing more than $NZ 400,000 into the project.
Henwood says the importance of working together globally to change the way exercise and health are valued, is so critical to the world moving forward slowly out of the covid pandemic.
She said the two Kiwis appointed to the board are a testament to the quality of New Zealand’s exercise industry.
The GHFA and the exercise industry are dedicated to increasing access to physical activity across the world, for people of all races, backgrounds, ages, orientations, and abilities.
Meanwhile, Beddie says New Zealand has its own issues with 93 percent of New Zealand kids do not do enough physical activity, according to World Health Organisation stats.
“I constantly work with the WHO on physical activity and I know New Zealand is really lagging. If we increase our kids’ physical activity there is a unique opportunity to get this right and the exercise industry is stepping up to offer to help.”
New Zealand is the 13th worst in the world when it comes to inactivity which is leading to a large range of poor health outcomes, putting an unnecessary drain on an already overloaded health system.