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Entries in obesity (69)


This Week in the Fitness Industry: First IMAX Cycling Studio Opens in NYC

First IMAX Cycling Studio Opens in New York City
The first IMAX cycling studio opened in a warehouse under the Manhattan Bridge in New York City this week, reports CNBC. The warehouse has been renovated to fit 50 spin bikes on five levels in front of a 40-by-24-foot screen. “I pedaled through snow-capped mountains first, just to get warmed up,” the CNBC reporter wrote. “Then I moved effortlessly over a still blue sea. Until the tunnel. That's when it went techno. Streaming lines, thumping rhythms, all blending (well, not really blending) with the blaring encouragement of a top fitness trainer in a tiny sport top.” Classes are $34 each with monthly packages running about $350. "Imax is always looking for opportunities to take the brand, the technology and, frankly, the focus on larger-than-life experiences to different places," said Bryan Marcovici, CEO of IMAX Shift. "With fitness, you have a market where people are migrating from big-box gyms to more boutique personal engaging experiences. We have an opportunity to accelerate that trend." 

Study: To Avoid Obesity, Exercise Matters More than Diet
Exercise may be more important than diet when it comes to avoiding obesity, according to a study by researchers at the University of Missouri. For the study, researchers split obesity-prone rats into three groups: a control group, a sedentary dieting group, and an exercise group with unlimited access to food. At the end of the study, the control group had become obese, but the dieting and exercise groups had maintained a healthy weight. However, they found that the rats that exercised were metabolically healthier, with better insulin sensitivity and lower levels of bad cholesterol than the dieters. They also burned more fat each day for fuel, according to their metabolic readings, and had more cellular markers related to metabolic activity within their brown fat than the dieting group. Additionally, the exercise group “showed no signs of compensatory eating or compensatory inactivity,” the researcher who oversaw the study told The New York Times

IHRSA Represents at Prestigious BIAC Forum on Innovation in Health and Well-being
Several IHRSA representatives, including Helen Durkin, IHRSA's executive vice president of global public policy, Kilian Fisher, IHRSA's global public policy advisor, and IHRSA members Martin Seibold and Catherine Carty, are representing the fitness industry at the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) Forum on Innovation in Health and Well-being. The forum, held May 3-4, 2016 in Paris at the OECD headquarters, is a unique two-day event that brings together senior representatives from government, the OECD, the leaders of multi-national consumer corporations, and leading experts in health and wellbeing to exchange solutions and policy recommendations. "With so many multi-national food and drink companies and trade associations involved, this is our opportunity as one of the few 'positive' industries involved to really drive the health and wellness message, especially with regard to what the fitness and health club industry can offer to help addressing the global health crisis," Kilian Fisher said when speaking about the opportunities presented in attending this event. Read our full coverage of the BIAC Forum. 

Yoga May Improve Symptoms, Quality of Life for Asthma Sufferers
Asthma sufferers who practice yoga may see small improvements in their symptoms and quality of life, according to a new review. The findings come from a doctor in Hong Kong who looked at the results of 15 studies involving more than 1,000 asthma patients to determine whether yoga provided significant benefits. “One third of these studies included only yoga breathing exercises, and the rest included breathing, postures, and meditation,” Reuters reports. “The yoga practice lasted anywhere from two weeks to four and a half years, though it was less than six months in most studies. Overall, yoga slightly improved symptoms and quality of life and reduced the need for medications.”


This Week in the Fitness Industry: More Health Clubs Offering Meditation Classes

More Health Clubs Offering Meditation Classes
The latest gym craze: doing nothing. Well, not exactly—a growing number of health clubs are offering classes that feature meditation, due to demands from members who are looking to de-stress in a place they already frequent. The Wall Street Journal reported on several of these types of classes at fitness centers, from Antigravity Cocooning at a Crunch Gym location to HeadStrong, a forthcoming Equinox conditioning class that will invites members to “start training our brains the way we train our hearts, lungs and muscles.” “When I’m in the cocoon and I’m lying down like that, I’m here for me,” a Crunch member, who usually lifts weights or does cardio at the gym, told The Journal. “I just feel calm.” 

Report: Less than 3% of Americans Lead a ‘Healthy Lifestyle’
Less than 3% of Americans meet the basic qualifications for a “healthy lifestyle,” according to a Mayo Clinic Proceedings study, The Atlantic reports. To live a healthy lifestyle as defined by the study, one must meet four qualifications: 1) moderate or vigorous exercise for at least 150 minutes a week; 2) a diet score in the top 40% on the Healthy Eating Index; 3) a body fat percentage under 20% (for men) or 30% (for women); 4) not smoking. The study looked at data from nearly 5,000 people and found that some qualifications were more easily met than others. For example, 71.5% were non-smokers, 46.5% got enough exercise, and 37.9% had a healthy diet, but only 9.6% had what the study calls “a normal body-fat percentage.” Ultimately, only 2.7% of people met all four.

U.S. K-12 Students to Test Adidas’ New Fitness Tracker
American students may soon be testing the Zone, Adidas’ new heart-rate monitoring fitness tracker. Zone is an Adidas initiative meant to keep students active, and they’re hoping to use it to change the way the Presidential Fitness Challenge is measured; rather than asking students to run a nine-minute mile, the goal would be to keep their heart-rate in a zone that’s best suited for their health abilities. “The Zone tracker, which only monitors heart rate, allows teachers to track a student’s performance and set up workout goals based on the individual’s personal fitness levels,” Mashable reports. “In addition to giving real-time heart-rate feedback on the display, it sends all collected data via the cloud to a teacher's software portal for assessment. Over time, an educator can see how a student is progressing weekly, monthly or even a year-to-year, and can elect to email the student (and their parents) fitness updates.”

World’s Obese Population Climbs to 640 Million
The world now has more overweight than underweight people, with more than 640 million people globally weighing in as obese, Reuters reports. In the past 40 years, the number of people with a BMI over 30 has risen from 105 million in 1975 to 641 million in 2014, according to a study published in The Lancet medical journal, which involved the World Health Organization and more then 700 researchers worldwide. "The number of people across the globe whose weight poses a serious threat to their health is greater than ever before," Majid Ezzati, a professor at the school of public health at Imperial College London, told Reuters."And this epidemic of severe obesity is too extensive to be tackled with medications such as blood pressure lowering drugs or diabetes treatments alone, or with a few extra bike lanes."

CNN Rates Comparable Indoor and Outdoor Exercises on Exertion, Fun
Indoor cycling studios continue to be on-trend, but, as the weather warms up, should cyclists take their exercise outdoors? To answer that question, CNN looked at the pros and cons of similar indoor and outdoor workouts, measuring them by comparing calories burned, heart rate, likelihood of injury, and fun. They found that indoor cycling burned more calories-per-hour than outdoor (761 versus 570), indoor cycling had a higher average heart rate (140 versus 119 for outdoor), and indoor cycling had a lower risk of injury. CNN ranked both indoor and outdoor cycling equally in terms of fun-factor, but they named indoor cycling the overall winner.


New National Tennis Initiative Aims to 'Rally the Family'

The Tennis Industry Association (TIA) has launched an exciting new initiative to encourage families to play tennis. If your club provides tennis, you can sign up now at

Rally the Family focuses on tennis for all ages, using lower compression red, orange and green tennis balls, shorter courts, shorter racquets, and modified scoring, along with a focus on family spending time together in fun and healthy activities, while also continuing to address this nation’s struggle with the inactivity pandemic and obesity crisis for our youth. All tennis providers—facilities, parks, clubs, teaching pros, etc.—are encouraged to sign-up for this initiative and list their programs and events at

“When you offer family tennis events and programs with Rally the Family, you’ll be part of a national campaign to grow our sport,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “This family tennis initiative, launching to consumers this spring, is designed to drive adults and kids to your courts and increase activity at your club or facility.”

As a Rally the Family provider, you'll have access to free tools and resources to promote your business, including a guide to welcoming new players, along with downloadable and customizable promotional material and templates.

“Rally the Family was developed by the tennis industry and its stakeholders to grow participation in the sport, for the benefit of all—including the important benefits tennis brings to children and adults,” says incoming TIA President Jeff Williams. “We urge you to join your industry to help revitalize tennis in America.”


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.


Durkin Commends Cancer Organization for Joining Fight Against Obesity

Helen Durkin, IHRSA's executive vice president of Global Public Policy, penned the featured article today in Disruptive Women in Healthcare, an online community of thought leaders, both in and outside healthcare.

Her article discusses the link between obesity and cancer development and applauds a position statement from the American Society of Clinical Oncology confirming their commitment to join the fight against obesity.

It also highlights the important services health clubs provide in cancer wellness treatment, as well as the efforts of The IHRSA Foundation to support programs that encourage these types of initiatives that use exercise, nutrition, and stress management as a way of helping cancer survivors lead healthier lives.

Read the entire story on the Disruptive Women website.


Enacting Health Policy in Battle Against Lifestyle Diseases

Just as the practice of good health is a day-to-day campaign, so too is the effort to get governments to enact good health policy. IHRSA's promotion of physical exercise and anti-obesity policy is not just centered in the United States. Nor is it limited to one specific policy prescription. IHRSA works with a number of governments and uses the information we have regarding global lifestyle diseases as an entry into those decision makers. 

For example, below is a letter to the editor and a story that shows the global harm from lifestyle diseases that the IHRSA policy team uses with public officials.

In response to an article in The New York Times, “Chronic Diseases Are Killing More in Poorer Countries,” Helen Durkin, IHRSA Executive Vice President of Global Public Policy wrote the following: 

Dear Editors:

Your article exposes the insidious nature of chronic—or “lifestyle”— diseases and serves as a stark reminder that along with the benefits of urbanization comes a toll. As the world’s populations increasingly migrate to cities, lifestyles related to more sedentary occupations and living spaces are likely to take hold. As we have observed here in the U.S., environment (both social and built) radically affects living habits and health. Perhaps this report will help us more acutely recognize the global nature of the fight against chronic disease—and that the best, most cost-effective cure is to prevent it wherever and whenever we can. It’s time for our domestic and international health-funding policies to reflect that reality.

Helen Durkin, Executive Vice President of Global Public Policy, IHRSA


Cost of Obesity Worldwide Hits $2 Trillion

The numbers from the just-released McKinsey Global Institute report on obesity are staggering:

  • global cost of obesity is $2 trillion annually
  • its impact is 2.8% of the global gross domestic product
  • 30% of the world’s population - about 2.1 billion - are either overweight or obese
  • the cost is almost equal to the impact of armed violence, war and terrorism … combined

The Report focuses on the economics of obesity. The authors say some of the reasons for such high numbers is because the fight against obesity has been sporadic and that a “systematic response” is now necessary.

Check out the story for more. 


Study: stress may hurt workout results

Image by artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.netWhen is it not a good time to work out? What city is shedding weight, and the negative connotation of the entire state? Is there something that can take the place or weights? Are 24/7 clubs more popular than those that lock the doors until the next morning?

What do these questions have in common? They are all subjects in This Week in the Fitness Industry, of course.

Read on to learn more on each.

Click to read more ...


AussieFit fighting teen obesity

Geoff Dyer, the founder of AussieFIT, which has two clubs in Ohio, was once an overweight teen, and, as a result, is acutely aware of the importance of physical activity for young people. So when, two years ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Ohio had the 12th highest rate of diabetes in the country, he knew he had to do something.

Working with the Columbus Public Health’s Institute for Active Living, Dyer created a fitness initiative for Columbus-area youngsters, offering free summer memberships at his 25,000-square-foot facilities to teens between the ages of
12 and 17. “Studies show that even teens who are genetically predisposed to obesity will maintain a healthy weight by exercising for an hour every day,” he points out.

The opportunity to use the clubs’ cutting-edge strength and cardio equipment, cycling studio, and various group exercise programs offers a safe, healthy alternative to expensive summer camps or misspent free time, notes Dyer.


CDC: US obesity rates heavier than ever

Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data on U.S. obesity rates for 2013, and is reflected in new maps on its website.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the findings show that obesity rates remained high all across the country in 2013.

What is alarming, however, is the report's finding that two states had a 35.1% obesity rate and no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%.

See where your state ranks on the CDC website.