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Entries in childhood obesity (45)


This Week in the Fitness Industry: 12,000+ Mexican Health Clubs Serve 4.1M Consumers

12,000+ Health Clubs Serve 4.1 Million Consumers in Mexico
The just-released IHRSA State of the Mexican Health and Fitness Industry Report found that 12,376 Mexican fitness facilities generate an estimated U.S. $1.8 billion in revenue from 4.1 million members.

The report, which was sponsored by Movement, and compiled in collaboration with Club Intel with support from Mercado Fitness, was based on a survey of 239 club operators representing 1,434 facility locations. The findings indicate that more than four million Mexicans are members of health clubs, with a market penetration rate in Mexico of 3.2%.

“To put that into perspective, the penetration rate is 18.5% in the United States for health club membership and more than 20% for health club utilization—so there is tremendous growth potential for the industry in Mexico,” said Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products, previewed the report’s findings during the 3rd annual IHRSA Mercado Fitness Mexico City Conference & Trade Show, which took place in Mexico City on October 26 & 27, 2016.

Learn more about The IHRSA State of the Mexican Health and Fitness Industry Report, which is available in English and Spanish.

Britain Fights Obesity Crisis with ‘Daily Mile’ School Program
Britain is attempting to improve its obesity crisis with a voluntary “daily mile” program that encourages primary school students to run, jog, or walk a mile during the school day. The initiative has caught on, according to The Washington Post, and every day tens of thousands of schoolchildren across the U.K. participate in the daily mile, in addition to their regular physical education classes. Students don’t change their clothing, compete with one another, or know when the teacher will tell them when it’s time to rush outside. A 9-year-old boy told The Post that the daily mile “makes me feel like I’m proud of myself” and means that “during lessons, I can concentrate a bit more.”

Pokémon Go Players' Fitness Gains Overstated, Short-lived
When Pokémon Go madness swept the world this summer the game was touted as a way to get children—and gamer adults—more active as they walked around their communities lost in augmented reality. And while there was some proof that the game encouraged users to move more than they normally did, new research published in the British Medical Journal suggests that the results were overstated and short-lived, TechCrunch reports. According to researchers, a group of Pokémon players showed an average of 955 extra steps per day during the week after the game came out, while a control group remained near the baseline. Unfortunately, “that thousand-step gain was cut in half by week four, however, and by week six was all but wiped out.”

IHRSA Announces Nominees for Board of Directors
IHRSA has announced four nominees for the IHRSA Board of Directors. They are:

  • Bryan O’Rourke, Owner of Gold’s Gym, Houston, TX and CEO, Integerus, LLC
  • Alan Leach, Regional Manager, West Wood Clubs, Ireland
  • Carrie Kepple, Club Manager, Les Mills, New Market, New Zealand
  • Brad Wilkins, Senior Vice President, Operations and Chief Operating Officer, Cooper Aerobics and Cooper Wellness Strategies, Dallas, TX

All four will stand for election at the annual meeting on Friday, March 10 during the IHRSA 2017 International Convention & Trade Show in Los Angeles. Read our full press release on the board nominees. 


Create an Active Generation of Kids with IHRSA’s Latest E-book

September is Child Obesity Month, a time to raise awareness for child obesity in the U.S. and promote steps communities can take to prevent it. 

Physical activity is a key component of treating and preventing child obesity, and can improve obesity-related risk factors, such as blood pressure and waist circumference. Children who are active are less likely to be obese, and exercise can help obese kids lose weight and body fat, do better in school, and have more confidence and self esteem. 

Health clubs play an important role in providing access to active spaces for kids, and they do it in a variety of ways. Some clubs provide separate spaces for kids to be active, some offer sport-specific programming and training like swimming or tennis, and others offer after school programs. Additionally, some clubs work directly with schools to provide physical activity or fundraising. 

The September edition of “12 Months of Health Promotion” will help you offer successful programming for children and adolescents. The e-book includes tools to help you develop programs, ideas for activities that appeal to kids and teens, shareable articles on the benefits of physical activity for kids, and the importance of making it more accessible in school and society. 

This month’s resources include: 

  • 7 Programming Ideas for Kids and Teens
  • “Best Practice E-book: Active Kids in the School and Community”
  • Key Takeaways from “Programming 101: The ABC’s of Children’s Programming”
  • Relevant articles and blog posts to read and share 

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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.


New E-book: Active Kids in the School & Community

Children who are physically active have better academic test performance, a lower risk of developing diabetes, and increased confidence and self-esteem—but few are getting enough exercise. To help solve this problem, many health clubs have joined other institutions, like schools and healthcare centers, to encourage kids to become more active. 

IHRSA’s new e-book, Active Kids in the School & Community, highlights seven IHRSA member clubs that are running successful programs and initiatives to get kids moving in their communities. 

There are four common themes among the successful clubs featured in the e-book: 

1. Emphasis on Character Building 

Many of the clubs interviewed aren’t just focused on providing opportunities and spaces for kids to get their heart rate up and burn calories—they are also providing programs that foster important character qualities in kids, such as teamwork, sportsmanship, empathy, confidence, and self-esteem. Ultimately the focus for many clubs goes beyond getting kids to be physically active right now to building character traits that will last a lifetime. 

2. Meeting Kids Where They Are 

When it comes to kids’ programming, offering age-appropriate opportunities is one of the most important things to do. Each of the clubs highlighted finds success by providing fun, age friendly options from tennis to sports training to play spaces. 

3. Community Service 

Many of the clubs who offer programming for children feel the higher calling to community service, and this calling often plays a large role in the development of each program. In addition, the focus on community outreach and health is often part of the clubs’ branding, and the programs only solidify their commitment to and reputation for service and community engagement. 

4. Hiring The Right People 

Finding the right person to run programs for kids emerged as an important consideration. It is important to staff your program with someone who enjoys working with kids, is passionate about what they do, and has experience with the type of program the club is running—from tennis to fitness to active play.

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Obesity: There Is Hope!

An article in this issue of CBI, “A Call to Action!,” notes that “Overweight and obese children desperately need our nation’s help.” From a three-year-old in Texas to young men and women deemed “unfit” for military service, the situation is dire.

The health of our children has always been a primary—in fact, a primal—concern, but, today, it’s being threatened, across the board, by physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and other unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, producing what’s been described as an “obesity epidemic.”

Recently, doctors at the University of Texas in Houston described the case of a three-year-old girl—the obese daughter of obese parents—who’d been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, one of the youngest cases ever reported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that, in 2012, 21% of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 were obese (see pg. 48). And nearly 25% of 17-to-24-year-olds are too overweight to serve in the military.

The same problem is developing in other sectors where physical fitness is critical, e.g., police and fire departments.

I have friends who are in charge of evaluating applicants for several police departments. When a few job openings are posted, hundreds of highly motivated people apply. The written exam has always thinned the ranks, but now, they tell me, the physical fitness requirements are disqualifying a growing number of applicants.

On the designated day, these individuals find it impossible to pass the fitness test they had months—or even years—to prepare for.

The societal implications of an overweight population are countless—e.g., an increase in the incidence of certain diseases and medical conditions, rising healthcare costs, reduced employee productivity, shortened longevity—and their impact, monumental.

But it’s the personal cost to our children, and to the adults they’ll become, that’s most important.

As “A Call to Action!” points out, there are things our industry can do—should do—to help. Another critical step is to ensure that children understand the fun and benefits of physical activity, and have plenty of opportunities to engage in it. In 2013, more than half of all high school students didn’t participate in any physical education (PE) classes in a typical week, and, today, nearly 75% don’t get the recommended 60 minutes of activity per day.

Promoting PE in schools is one of the most effective ways to ensure our nation’s health. One way to do so is by supporting passage of the Fit Kids Act, introduced in Congress in 2013 and reassigned, last April, to a congressional committee for its consideration. If approved, this proposal would provide grants to schools across the country to launch, expand, or improve upon PE programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Importantly, it also would replace the 37% in funding cut from the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) for fiscal 2015, the country’s only dedicated source of funding for PE programs. To learn more, visit

There is hope for overweight children … because there are solutions.

In the case of the three-year-old in Texas, physicians, initially, put the child on a liquid version of the diabetes drug metformin. But they also educated her parents about diabetes and nutrition, and asked the family to modify its lifestyle. “They were also asked to increase their daughter’s physical activity,” explains

Six months after diagnosis, the girl had lost 25% of her weight, had normal blood glucose levels, and was no longer taking metformin.


Overweight and Obese Children Desperately Need our Industry’s Help

We’re a nation of increasing size, but it’s not our borders that are expanding—it’s our waistlines. And, sadly, young people, as well as adults, have been gaining weight.

Back in 1980, just 7% of American children aged six to 11 were obese; by 2012, that number had jumped to almost 18%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over the same time period, the percentage of obese adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 quadrupled, from 5% to 21%—or one out of every five—the CDC reports.

In total, more than one-third of American children and adolescents were either overweight or obese in 2012, the last year for which figures are available.

Click to read more ...


This Week In Health Promotion: Charleston Kids Get Active At School

Charleston School District Gets Creative With Exercise In The Classroom

In recent years, child obesity and physical inactivity has climbed while school physical education and recess have been on the decline. But some schools in Charleston, South Caroilina are aiming to turn the trend around. Kids in these schools can take more advanced PE classes, do yoga, and learn at desks that double as exercise equipment. They can also access special labs that blur the line between physical and academic education, all as part of the "Active Brains" program. 

So far feedback from parents and teachers has been positive. Learn more about Active Brains in the Washington Post.

Physical Activity - The Missing Link In Cancer Care

Breast cancer affects an estimated 1 in 8 women (12%) nationwide, and in 2015 nearly 300,000 cases of invasive and non-invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed, killing 40,290 women. Of course, breast cancer isn’t solely a women’s disease - it is anticipated that in 2015 men will be diagnosed with 2,350 cases of invasive breast cancer. While genetic predisposition is a factor, roughly 85% of breast cancer cases diagnosed in women are among those with no history of the disease.

The good news is that there are ways to help prevent breast cancer occurrence and reoccurrence. Research has shown associations between participating in regular physical activity and maintaining a normal body weight to lower risk of breast cancer. Physical activity has also been linked to lower risk of cancer recurrence and higher quality of life during and following treatment.  In a recent post on the Department of Health and Human Service Be Active Your Way Blog, IHRSA discusses the benfits of exercise for cancer patients and survivors, and highlights several clubs who are working to be part of the solution. 

Read the full post.


Healthy Diet and Physical Activity Reduce The Likelihood of Child Obesity

A study in the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health used population data to examine the combined associations between diet and physical activity in relation to obesity in children and adolescents. The study used data on over 2,800 children aged 6-17 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003-2006. Diet was measured using two 24-hour recalls and assessed using a healthy eating index. Participants with a “healthy diet” scored over the 60th percentile on the index, and those classified as being “physically active” met the recommended 60 minutes per day of physical activity.

Results showed that kids who did not eat a healthy diet and were physically inactive were 19% more likely to be obese than those who were both physically active and ate a healthy diet. Health clubs provide a safe place for kids to be active, and many clubs offer programs specifically tailored to children. 

An R. Diet quality and physical activity in relation to childhood obesity. Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2015 Aug 15. pii: /j/ijamh.ahead-of-print/ijamh-2015-0045/ijamh-2015-0045.xml. doi: 10.1515/ijamh-2015-0045. [Epub ahead of print]

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Technogym Brings Back Let's Move Campaign for Second Year

Let's Move for a Better World 2014 Edition from Technogym on Vimeo.


Exercising in a club that has Technogym equipment will not only help you, health-wise, but also fight childhood obesity.

The company’s 2015 Let’s Move for a Better World campaign, which runs March 2-22, will track each “move” you make by using Technogym’s my wellness cloud or Challenge App. The facility with the most “moves” will be able to donate a line of Technogym’s Easy Line equipment to a school of its choice.

For the club, the challenge is also a great way to get members involved.

“(The challenge was) the best member engagement program in my 39 years in the industry,” said Mike Dupuis, chief operating officer at Key Health Institute, which won the the 2014 Let’s Move Challenge.

Learn more, and sign up, at


Cherry Hill Teen Fitness Program Benefits Many

Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club instituted a win-win program this summer that helped gets kids more active.

Its Teen Fitness Connection allowed youngsters to use the club at no cost. Cherry Hill also donated $20 to the Cherry Hill Education Foundation, which goes to the child’s school physical education department, for every student that participated in the program.

“Our club staff is thrilled with the continued success of this community program. Our hope is for teens to get active every summer, and continue to experience the health benefits of exercise year-round.” states CHHRC General Manager Brian Kosa.  “We look forward to working with the CHEF, to continued increase our involvement from the Cherry Hill schools, and tap into our teachers, administration, and counselors to motivate our teens and get the word out.”

Learn more at