Investing in exercise

UBM Live, organiser of Leisure Industry Week (22-24 Sept), the UK’s largest gathering of health and fitness professionals, has welcomed the new health secretary’s announcement stating his commitment to preventative health care.

Andy Burnham, who replaced Alan Johnson as health secretary in last week’s cabinet reshuffle, says he wants primary care trusts (PCT), which deliver local health services, to encourage people to exercise as a means of disease prevention.

Leisure Industry Week celebrates its 21st anniversary this year and recently ran its first seminar for exhibitors and visitors to boost their understanding of PCTs.

Portfolio director of Leisure at UBM Live, Jonny Sullens, says the workshop “helped suppliers to understand the PCTs’ objectives, the way they are funded and the way they buy and was very well attended. The feedback from attendees was excellent”.

A conference targeting PCTs will also feature in the show’s seminar programme and Sullens says LIW’s marketing campaigns will focus on this increasingly important audience of buyers.

The Fitness Industry Association, meanwhile, meets 9-10 June for its annual summit at The Reebok, Bolton, with latest industry statistics from the Fitness Index showing 114 new fitness clubs opening in the year to March and UK gym membership up one per cent.

The health and fitness sector has grown by three per cent in the 12-month period ending 31 March 2009, according to the Fitness Industry Association, while The Leisure Database Company, in its annual industry survey, says revenues are up to an all-time high of £3.77bn. The fitness industry would seem to be more resilient than most.

Nevertheless, by 2050, over half the population will be technically obese, according to the FIA’s Howard de Souza. “Thirty per cent of the population do no exercise at all,” he says.

The FIA Bolton summit, de Souza says, will attract 450 delegates debate how the association delivers the £275m MoreActive4Life sub brand of the NHS Change4Life campaign for which the FIA is committing £3m on the 12-week campaign, beginning 27 June.

Paul Colston

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Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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