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Huffington Post Blog: “Make Prevention a Priority”

For The Huffington Post blog, Kathy Lim Ko, president of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, writes a compelling post about multi-faceted approach necessary to successfully combat unhealthy lifestyles. “Preventing obesity associated chronic diseases and improving our nation's public health requires policy, systems and environmental change,” she says. 

Lim Ko outlines America’s need for greater prevention measures, citing sobering data on U.S. obesity and chronic disease rates, lack of physical activity and the high cost of treating preventable diseases. “An estimated 7 in 10 deaths are due to chronic diseases, and costs for obesity-related preventable diseases could approach $66 billion per year by 2030,” she says.

There is no single cause of America’s declining health, Lim Ko notes, therefore a solution has to be just as diverse. “Essentially, we need creative solutions at all levels of government and across all sectors of society.” Lim Ko discusses several federal and private sector initiatives aimed at increasing community access to preventive care, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s REACH Program, parts of the Affordable Care Act and the Let’s Move! campaign. In the private sector, corporations like Walmart are offering healthier food options in their stores. 

Health clubs have an opportunity to join in the private sector effort to fight obesity and chronic disease. Clubs are not only places for exercise; they are community hubs that bring people together and encourage a culture of healthy living and health management.

Read IHRSA President and CEO Joe Moore’s letter to the editor of the Huffington Post on the economic cost of obesity.

The bottom line is that clubs have an important role to play in the fight against obesity and physical inactivity. It just so happens that this role benefits health and fitness centers as well.

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