Club Insider

The Fate and Fortune of the Health and Fitness Industry

Part II

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Stephen TharrettStephen Tharrett

The health and fitness facility industry is an evolving entity, both domestically and internationally. While it is more of an accepted part of the American culture and lifestyle than it was 40 years ago or even a decade ago, the industry remains somewhat susceptible to the whims of evolving global demographics, trendy popular culture and macroeconomic conditions. The fate and fortune --or destiny if you like-- of the health and fitness facility industry, is now being influenced by these evolving cultural, demographic and economic forces. How the industry perceives and interprets these influences and correspondingly responds to them will determine our industry's destiny over the next few decades. The more attuned club operators are to these powerful forces of capitalistic evolution, the greater the chance as a collective community, and as individual operators, our ability to craft a fate of prosperity.

This white paper is the second in a trilogy series that delves into what we believe are seven of the most powerful forces impacting our industry in 2015, but they are also positioned to influence its destiny for decades to come. Part II explores the impact of the state of health, narcissistic capitalism and karaoke innovation and environmental consciousness.

Mark WilliamsonMark Williamson

The State of Health: A Shifting Paradigm

In the past decade, the world has seen an exponential increase in obesity and the many detrimental health conditions that are attendant to obesity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 35% of the world's adult population is obese and 65% of the world's population lives in nations where being overweight and obese is more likely to kill more people than being underweight. Finally, the WHO says that, in 2012, 40 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese. According to healthcare professionals, it is believed that, for the first time in the history of mankind, children will die at a younger age than their parents. This means that adults from Generation Y and the pre-adults from Generation Z are more likely to succumb to the ravages of age and an inactive lifestyle than Baby Boomers.

The increasing role of technology in the world has created a generation of adults who move less, eat more, don't trust the medical establishment like their forbearers, and as a result, experience significantly higher rates of obesity or related physical and psychological disorders associated with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and cancer. The fact that the healthcare system, especially in the U.S., is broken only exacerbates the situation. Built on a model of expensive treatment, rather than inexpensive prevention, the healthcare system is overtaxed, and in many cases, not within the financial reach of the average person. These factors present both a challenge and an opportunity for the health and fitness club industry. The potential business implications of a changing state of health in the health and fitness industry may include:

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