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Future funding opportunities will rely on the fi tness industry gathering evidence to prove it can deliver desired outcomes
dave stalker lisa taylor
chief operating officer • the fitness industry association strategic partnership director • mend
“C
ollecting data is not our forte
as an industry. Having been an “T
he fitness industry has generally
been poor at collecting data.
operator, I know it’s time consuming, If it’s to become a respected partner
dull and hard to quantify on the bottom in improving the health of the nation,
line, but benchmarking and capturing it would be wise to consider adopting
information truly is priceless. Capturing specialist advice in this area.
data has to be part of an operator’s The FIA has recognised this and
DNA, whether done by trainers or recently engaged MEND to write a six-
smart machines. If you understand the week DH-approved More Active Health
value of data (as retailers do), then you automatically develop Programme, as part of the MoreActive4Life campaign.
the necessary protocols. Data allows us to improve customer MEND is a social enterprise dedicated to reducing
profiling and service delivery and, of course, demonstrate the overweight and obesity levels worldwide. We have a 20-year
value of our offering to those controlling funding streams. research partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital
If operators want to tap into public funds, they need to and University College London’s Institute of Child Health. In
work individually at a local level – with PCTs, GPs and local our programmes, we collect health and socio-economic data
authorities – as well as collectively, as part of a consensus at quarterly intervals, ideally for two years. The programmes
industry bid. Prove the ‘exercise medicine’ proposition and the deliver measured and sustained outcomes such as reduced
argument is won. Win the argument and you win the ‘bid’. BMI, improved fitness and increased self-esteem, as well as
A central database capable of dissecting information by decreasing health inequalities. The health impact from these
demographics and fitness levels would be invaluable to public programmes are continuously analysed, evaluated and published.
health strategists and embed our sector in the world of Our evidence-based approach to programme-writing has
healthcare provision. This would be a mountain to climb, but enabled us to mobilise over £20m of funding from the public,
nevertheless it’s an ambition we must pursue.

private and third sector partnerships.

november/december 2009 © cybertrek 2009 Read Health Club Management online 25
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