Andrea Bell is the new chair of the Global Health & Fitness Alliance
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Andrea Bell is the new chair of the Global Health & Fitness Alliance

Chief people officer of Inspire Brands Asia, Andrea Bell is the new chair of the GHFA
Exercise New Zealand’s CEO Richard Beddie will become vice-chair
The GHFA campaigns for global organisations, such as WHO, to recognise the health and fitness sector as an essential service
The alliance’s first report, by Deloitte, analysing the sector’s social, health and economic contribution will be released later this year
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The Global Health & Fitness Alliance (GHFA) has announced Andrea Bell is to serve as the new chair of its advisory council.

She replaces Greg Oliver, CEO of the Fitness & Lifestyle Group, who took up the role in October 2021. Oliver will continue to be part of the GHFA Advisory Council.

Exercise New Zealand’s CEO Richard Beddie has been elected vice-chair. Both Beddie and Bell were previously members of the GHFA Advisory Council.

Bell is the co-founder, director, and chief people officer of Inspire Brands Asia, the consortium that owns the master franchise license for Anytime Fitness Asia. Having started with Anytime Fitness as a franchisee seven years ago, Bell now focuses on culture and building and retaining teams.

Beddie is CEO of Exercise New Zealand and board chief of staff for the International Confederation of Registers for Exercise Professionals (ICREPs). Previously a multi-club owner he also has governance experience in global exercise and recreation bodies and a passion for collaboration to get more people physically active through exercise.

“Over the past two years, we’ve done a huge amount of work behind the scenes getting the GHFA set up, building our network, raising significant sums to fund our research and getting ourselves onto the radar of the World Health Organization,” Oliver, told HCM in an exclusive interview. “We’re about to move to the next phase, and it feels like the right time to hand over the reins.”

The GHFA was launched in November 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and works to promote the health and fitness industry, demonstrating the crucial role the sector plays in preventative healthcare.

“Every operator around the world – and in turn the suppliers that work with us and the federations and associations that support us – has been heavily impacted by the pandemic,” said Oliver. “Over the last two years, we’ve seen entire health club operations go out of business as a direct result of lockdown. Those who have survived still have a way to go to full recovery and if lockdowns return, more clubs will be lost.”

The alliance campaigns for the industry to be recognised as an essential service by global organisations – such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) – and envisions shaping policy development in the future.

“The World Health Organization is a key audience for us and we’re fully aligned with its agenda,” said Oliver. “It wants to reduce global physical inactivity by 15 per cent by 2030 and we see a pivotal role for our sector in delivering this.”

To support this goal, last year the GHFA commissioned Deloitte to produce a report, The Economic Impact of the Health and Fitness Industry, analysing the sector’s social, health and economic contribution in order to prove its essential status. The research will cover 46 countries and is due to be released in Q2 of 2022.

“Confirming clubs’ essential status will allow operators around the world to build their businesses on new, more expansive foundations, collaborate with governments, speak to a more receptive and diverse end-user and enjoy greater scope to grow, contribute to society and ultimately thrive,” said Oliver. “Securing essential status will be a win-win-win for ourselves, governments and individuals.”

The GHFA advisory council comprises six further members: Gigliola Aycardi, co-founder and executive vice president of Bodytech in Latin America; Anna Henwood, chief marketing officer at Les Mills; Brian Morris, founder and CEO of Aspria; Justin Musgrove, CEO of Kun Real Estate; Emmett Williams, partner at Myzone; and Anastasia Yusina, president of Strata Fitness Holding, it is supported by IHRSA.

Read more about the GHFA’s mission in HCM February 2022.

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The Global Health & Fitness Alliance (GHFA) has announced Andrea Bell, director and chief people officer of Inspire Brands Asia, is to serve as the new chair of its advisory council.
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