Sports can lead in health prevention

Jose A. Vidal
Published in
6 min readSep 3, 2023


During this month of August, we have witnessed both the best and the worst sides of sports. The Spanish women’s national soccer team claimed the World Champion title on August 20th, achieving an unprecedented feat for a women’s category that has been experiencing significant development, reaching its pinnacle with this great achievement. However, the celebration was marred by the untimely and unpleasant behavior of the president of the RFEF (Royal Spanish Football Federation in Spanish) from the VIP box during the match and subsequently during the trophy presentation.

Source: FIFA.

This has led me to reflect on something I have observed over the years as an investor in SPORTSTECH environments: the urgent need for restructuring that these federative entities and many of their clubs require, both in their organizational structures and in their representatives, in order to match the tremendous opportunity that their industry presents.

The power of the sports industry and technology in global disease prevention is an increasingly important topic in contemporary society. The combination of these two fields can have a significant impact on people’s health and the global economy. Throughout this text, we will explore how sports and technology are contributing to disease prevention, the overall figures supporting this trend, and the savings in both human lives and economic terms.

The Global Impact of Diseases

Before delving into the role of sports and technology in disease prevention, it is essential to understand the magnitude of the problem we face on a global scale. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer are responsible for most deaths worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), non-communicable diseases account for approximately 71% of all annual deaths, with 85% of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries.

In addition to the lives lost, these diseases also have a significant economic impact. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), non-communicable diseases represented a global economic burden of $7.1 trillion in 2019. This figure includes direct healthcare costs as well as indirect costs related to lost productivity due to illness and premature death.

Sport as a Prevention Tool

Sport is a powerful tool in disease prevention. Regular physical activity has several health benefits, ranging from reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes to improve mental health and overall quality of life. Through exercise, individuals can control their weight, strengthen their immune system, and reduce stress, among other benefits.

Sport also plays a crucial role in preventing lifestyle-related with chronic diseases, such as obesity. According to the World Obesity Federation, more than 13% of the world’s adult population is obese, significantly increasing the risk of serious diseases. Sport, combined with a balanced diet, can help combat obesity and its negative health consequences.

Technology as a Facilitator of Prevention

Technology has transformed how we approach disease prevention. Today, there are numerous applications and devices that allow individuals to monitor their health and track their physical activity. Wearable devices, such as smartwatches and activity trackers, have gained popularity in recent years, making it easier for people to monitor their activity levels and real-time health status.

Furthermore, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis play a crucial role in disease prevention. These technologies can analyze large sets of medical data to identify patterns and trends that humans might overlook. This allows for early and accurate disease detection, which can be essential in prevention and effective treatment.

Synergy Between Sports, Technology, and Disease Prevention

The synergy between sports and technology has led to innovations that can have a profound impact on disease prevention. Some examples include:

Physical activity tracking applications: Apps like Fitbit, Strava, Nike Training Club and others allow individuals to log their workouts, set activity goals, and receive real-time feedback on their progress. These apps motivate people to stay active and lead healthier lifestyles.

Telemedicine and remote monitoring: Telemedicine and online medical consultations have become more accessible thanks to technology. This makes it easier for people to consult healthcare professionals and monitor their medical conditions without physically visiting a medical office.

Health monitoring devices: Technology has given rise to wearable devices that can measure key health parameters, such as blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and heart rate. These devices are especially valuable for individuals with chronic diseases, as they allow continuous health monitoring.

Virtual reality and gamification: Virtual reality has been used to make exercise more engaging and fun. Virtual reality games and applications can motivate people to be more physically active, which can aid in preventing inactivity-related diseases.

Relevant Figures and Statistics

To understand better the impact of the sports and technology industry on disease prevention, it is important to examine some key figures and statistics:

Reduction in the risk of chronic diseases: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, regular physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and obesity.

Healthcare cost savings: Promoting healthy lifestyles through sports and technology can lead to significant savings in healthcare costs. A study published in the journal Health Affairs estimated that a 1% increase in physical activity among the U.S. population could result in $2.8 billion in annual healthcare cost savings.

Impact on life expectancy: Regular physical activity can increase life expectancy. According to the WHO, physical inactivity is one of the leading risk factors for global mortality, responsible for an estimated 3.2 million deaths annually.

Early disease detection: Data analysis technology and AI have proven effective in the early detection of diseases such as cancer. For example, a study published in Nature Medicine found that an AI algorithm could detect lung cancer in chest X-rays with similar accuracy to radiologists.

Adoption of wearable technology: According to Statista, the global wearable devices market is expected to reach $96.2 billion by 2023. This growing adoption of wearable technology supports the idea that people are increasingly interested in monitoring and improving their health.

Conclusions and Future Perspectives

The sports and technology industries are playing a crucial role in global disease prevention. The combination of regular physical activity, health monitoring through devices and apps, and the application of data analysis technologies is leading to significant advancements in promoting healthy lifestyles and early disease detection.

The figures and statistics support the importance of this trend, both in terms of saving human lives and reducing economic healthcare-related costs. As technology continues to advance and awareness of the importance of physical activity and health grows, we can expect the sports and technology industries to play an increasingly relevant role in global disease prevention.

However, it is important to remember that, despite these advancements, disease prevention is a collective effort that requires collaboration among governments, healthcare organizations, businesses, and, above all, individuals. The adoption of an active and healthy lifestyle remains the cornerstone of disease prevention, and technology and sports are valuable tools to help us achieve it.

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Jose A. Vidal