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Friday
Mar182016

This Week in the Fitness Industry: 24 Hour Fitness Supports Five TEAM USA Athletes 

24 Hour Fitness Partners with Five Team USA Athletes
24 Hour Fitness has announced its partnership with “Team 24 Hour Fitness,” five athletes expected to represent Team USA at the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. “Our distinguished athletes come from diverse backgrounds. They are each compelling, inspiring and relatable,” Mark Smith, CEO of 24 Hour Fitness, said in a release. “The athletes that make up Team 24 have embarked on the fitness journey of a lifetime and we look forward to sharing their stories with our members in the weeks ahead. It’s moments like this that reaffirm our commitment to helping people – everyday athletes and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls alike – reach their fitness goals.” The five athletes include a swimmer, triathlete, a middle distance runner, a Paralympic long jumper, and a Paralympic swimmer.

More Doctors Prescribing Exercise Over Medication
A growing number of physicians are prescribing exercise—not medication—to treat their patients’ chronic health problems, according to a report in The Boston Globe. “In one such program run by a health center in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, primary care physicians, internists and psychologists prescribe access to a gym for $10 a month, including free child care, classes, and kids programs,” The Globe reports. “Providing affordable gym access for patients ensures compliance, said Gibbs Saunders of Healthworks Community Fitness, a nonprofit gym in Dorchester that has partnered with several health care providers to help low-income residents fill their exercise prescriptions.” The health center’s executives said low-cost access to a gym is important, since many of their patients’ income is low and 70% of those they treat suffer from chronic conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression.

Study: Fitness Report Cards Have Negative Effect on Children
Giving schoolchildren “fitness report cards” may actually cause overweight girls to gain more weight, according to a study of New York City public schools’ “Fitnessgrams.” Researchers analyzed 442,408 anonymized BMI records of New York City girls whose weight placed them just above and below the “overweight” cutoff for their age between 2007 and 2012. They found that “girls who were told they were overweight gained, on average, 0.17 pounds more than ‘healthy’ girls, and their BMI increased by 0.03 BMI more units, over the course of the following year,” Slate reports. “For girls who were told they had a ‘healthy’ weight one year and then told that they were ‘overweight’ the following year, the impact was even more pronounced—their BMI subsequently increased 0.07 BMI units more than girls whose weight remained ‘healthy.’”

High Body Fat—Not BMI—Linked with Higher Death Rate
High body fat—not BMI—is linked with a higher death rate, according to a study. CNN reports that the study’s researchers were able to look at participants’ total body directly because they selected individuals who had previously undergone X-ray testing to determine if they had decreased bone density. They found that the thinnest women with a BMI less than 22.5 (a group including underweight and normal weight women) had a 44% higher risk of dying during the seven-year follow-up period. They also found that women with more than 38.7% total body fat had 19% higher death rates. Among the thinnest men, those with a BMI less than about 23.8 had 45% higher death rates during a follow-up period of about 4.5 years, while men in the highest body fat group (more than 36% total body fat) were at 59% higher risk of dying during the study period. "Being underweight is a marker for illness in some individuals at the same time that being overweight and obese is not optimal for health,” the study’s lead author said.

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