Friday, May 30, 2008

Brisk Walking Lowers Blood Pressure, Increases Fitness in Obese

“If walking seems too simple to be an effective fitness method, think again: taking a stroll is an easy way to lower pressure and for the obese to increase aerobic fitness, according to three researchers who presented findings today at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine. ‘Obese patients have more body mass to move, causing the heart and cardiovascular system to have to work harder than a normal-weight person's would,’ Thomas Spring, M.S., said. ‘Walking is a great way for the overweight and obese to begin an exercise program, because it can be done with little instruction or equipment and is low in cost. ACSM recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days per week for healthy adults. The guidelines also state that physical activity can be broken up into 10-minute bouts and be as effective as one longer session, a recommendation confirmed by another study on the effects of brisk walking on hypertension.”,413783.shtml

Weighty Problem Costs NHS Lothian £60,000 Each Day

“Health chiefs in the Lothians [Scotland] are spending the equivalent of £60,000 a day treating people who are overweight. The cost to the health service emerged as separate figures estimated that 150,000 adults in the Lothians are now classed as ‘clinically obese’. NHS Lothian is now set to launch a new drive to tackle the problem and attempt to trim the annual £22 million bill. Those classed as clinically obese are putting themselves at risk of diabetes and potentially damaging their hearts, livers and kidneys, but hospitals and GPs only currently get the opportunity to help people when their weight has actually affected their health. NHS Lothian wants to help prevent people from reaching that point, and will draw up an action plan to work alongside local authorities, businesses and other groups to help people eat more healthily and get more exercise. Dr Alison McCallum, director of public health at NHS Lothian, said: ‘The Healthy Weight Strategy is about improving the quality of life for people in Lothian and helping people lead long and healthy lives.’ ‘By promoting healthy eating and regular physical activity, NHS Lothian can help people avoid some of the debilitating and occasionally fatal conditions associated with being severely overweight.’”

Pediatric Wheezing: If Not Asthma, Then What is It?

“A featured science session at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) addressed the issue of pediatric wheezing and the possible diagnoses beyond EIA. ‘Unfortunately, it's all too common for athletes to be diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma, only to miss the real source of the wheezing,’ said Dr. Ouellette. Asthma is certainly a problem for children and receives a considerable amount of attention because of environmental causes such as second-hand smoke and air pollution. According to the American Lung Association, asthma is the most common chronic disorder in children, currently affecting an estimated 6.8 million children under 18 years old, of which 4.1 million suffered from an asthma attack or episode in 2006 according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In a recent study, researchers from the University of Iowa examined 142 pediatric patients referred for exercise-induced dypsnea, 98 of whom had been presumed to have EIA by their primary care physician. Upon further examination, only 11 patients (9 percent) actually had EIA. Seventy-four (63 percent) patients were exercising too hard or were not properly conditioned for their activity level. Other diagnoses included restrictive abnormalities (13 percent), and vocal cord dysfunction (11 percent), among others.”,413779.shtml

Hula Hoop Your Way To Weight Loss At Contours Express

“‘So many people say they feel like a kid again when they try the Hula Hoop,’ says Mags Reddington in Contours Express. But the hula hoop isn’t just a toy anymore. The Hula Hoop is a serious fat-burning tool, designed to use at home or in the club. Noticeably heavier than toy hula hoops, the strategically weighted hoop is easier to keep around your waist than a kid’s plastic hoop. Yet because it requires constant push-pull contractions in your core muscles (abs plus obliques), as well as in the glutes and thighs, the added resistance has a remarkable way of sculpting and reshaping in all the right places. All this takes hooping beyond a ‘craze’ and into the territory of a serious exercise method. Major fitness chains around the world have begun to offer regularly scheduled hooping classes. The benefits of Hula-Hooping are many. It is great for weight loss; it targets your middle (abdominal muscles, hips, and waistlines); it burns calories; it builds mobility, improves fitness, and is great for flexibility. Above all, Mags says, her Hula Hoop emphasises appreciating your body as is. ‘It goes beyond just wanting to change your physique. The goal is not only better fitness, but also improving the connection between your mind and body. These are movements proven to reduce stress and relieve chronic pain, but most importantly, this will give you a sense of peace and radiance.’”

Thursday, May 29, 2008

CDC Grant To Aid In Obesity Fight

“Indiana's efforts to trim waistlines and get Hoosiers off their couches are getting a boost from the federal government. State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe said Wednesday that Indiana won a five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pay for nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention activities developed for its statewide obesity plan. For the first year, the CDC grant will be for $435,000, an amount that is expected to increase in coming years, depending on the state's ability to show progress, Monroe said. The goal is to reduce the state's obesity rate, which was 27.4 percent in 2007. Monroe said Indiana's ranking improved from 10th in 2006 to 21st nationally last year because the state's rate remained constant, while most states got pudgier.”

Overweight, Obesity Linked to Knee Replacement for Osteoarthritis

“Overweight and obesity are linked more to the need for a total knee replacement (TKR) vs a total hip replacement (THR) for osteoarthritis (OA), according to the results of a case-control study reported in the May 27 Online First issue of the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. ‘The relationship between high body mass index (BMI) and knee osteoarthritis (OA) is well established,’ write Dr. Jonas Franklin, from Lund University in Lund, Sweden, and colleagues. ‘The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between BMI and hip and knee OA leading to arthroplasty in Icelandic men and women.’ ‘This study supports a positive association between high BMI and TKR in both sexes, but for THR the association with BMI seems to be weaker, and possibly negligible for women,’ the study authors write. ‘We found that high BMI was a risk factor for THR only in obese men, and not in overweight or obese women.’”

Three Surprised And Delighted Fitness Trainers from Three Different Continents Are Selected to Join Technogym as Master Trainers at The Beijing Olympi

“Technogym is the Exclusive Official Supplier to the BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games). More than 20,000 athletes from over 200 countries will be using Technogym fitness equipment and software in over 15 different locations in Beijing. In addition to providing training equipment for the Olympic athletes, Technogym is also flying in with 30 of its own trainers to help athletes as they prepare for their events. For the first time in its history at Olympic events, Technogym is also bringing in three additional trainers, none of them affiliated with the company. Earlier this year Technogym sent out an invitation to fitness trainers around the world, asking them to apply for one of three spots as guest trainers with the Technogym team. Over 1,000 people applied, went through a rigorous selection process and then waited to hear the final results. Technogym is now delighted to announce the names of the three trainers who were selected. Katie De-Mouilpied - from Manchester, England
Rodney Corn - from Yuba City, Northern California, USA
Sjouke Vellema – from Pretoria, South Africa. For these three, going to Beijing will be the trip of a lifetime.”

Eat Well, Exercise Regularly

“Eating well and exercising are linked in even more important ways. Probably the most important is health and fitness. It is possible to improve your health by eating well, but, unfortunately, it is possible to be healthy but not physically fit. There are many people of ideal body weight and good overall health who are not physically fit. Likewise, we can improve our fitness level with just exercise. Fitness is really the relationship between how much work can be done in a certain amount of time. Whether it is running, weightlifting, shoveling snow or cutting wood, moving large loads quickly is a pretty good indicator of fitness. Together, being healthy and physically fit can greatly reduce the risk of premature death, not to mention being essential for long lasting weight control.”

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Study: Childhood Obesity May Be Leveling Off

“The percentage of American children who are overweight or obese appears to have leveled off after a 25-year increase, according to new figures that offer a glimmer of hope in an otherwise dismal battle. ‘That is a first encouraging finding in what has been unremittingly bad news,’ said Dr. David Ludwig, director of an obesity clinic at Children's Hospital Boston, Massachusetts.’ But it's too soon to know if this really means we're beginning to make meaningful inroads into this epidemic. It may simply be a statistical fluke. Overall, roughly 32 percent of children were overweight but not obese, 16 percent were obese and 11 percent were extremely obese, in a study based on in-person measurements of height and weight in 2005 and 2006. Those levels were roughly the same as in 2003-04 after a steady rise since 1980, according to the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which conducted the study.”

Critics Fit To Be Tied Over 24-Hour Gyms

“With two small children and a business that requires face-time with clients, Brian Eyster wants to work out when everyone else is going to sleep. So earlier this year, Eyster, 32, of Royal Oak, Mich., joined Anytime Fitness, a 24-hour franchise where gym members use a pin number or key card to get into an unstaffed gym. Watch out mega health club. The 24-hour fitness center is one of the fastest growing fitness franchises, billing itself as an alternative to oversized and overpriced health clubs. But the explosion has also raised concerns about whether people should be working out in a fitness facility unsupervised, especially late at night. Anytime Fitness, which was founded in 2002 in Hastings, Minn., opens a new club each business day and is on target to have 1,000 clubs operating before the end of the year, says spokesman Mark Daly.”,0,2279123.story

Resistance Training Improves Quality of Life in Older Cancer Survivors

“Older cancer survivors showed greater strength and ability to perform daily tasks after resistance training, according to research presented today at the 55th American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. One of few studies to involve cancer patients beyond their mid-50s, it tests ways to fight the loss of function that can limit the independence of seniors -- particularly those who have undergone cancer therapies. ACSM recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity daily physical activity for older adults, including aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activity, both of which are essential for healthy aging. The benefits associated with regular exercise and physical activity contribute to a more healthy, independent lifestyle, improving functional capacity and quality of life by reducing risk of chronic disease, premature mortality, and overall limitations in ability to perform activities of daily life.”

Baby Boomers' Bodies Impacted by Years of Wear and Tear

“As increasing numbers of baby boomer exercise enthusiasts and athletes age, healthcare professionals are treating more overuse injuries, as well as dealing with the results of traumatic injuries experienced by people when they were younger. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) convened a symposium on Overuse Injuries in the Baby Boomer, the Results of Years of Abuse today at its 55th Annual Meeting. Symposium chair Jeffrey A. Ross suggests that as people age - especially if they have been avid participants in physical activities such as running, tennis, volleyball, step/bench aerobics, and basketball - they need to consider alternative activities that put less stress on joints, and thus have the potential to result in fewer injuries. He suggests walking, water jogging, use of elliptical machines, and swimming. In addition, Ross is a strong advocate of stretching to help create or restore flexibility. ‘It is really important that people continue to be physically active,’ Ross said.”,410166.shtml

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

IHRSA Legislative Summit: Acts for a Better America!

“Our marketing director recently got back from Washington D.C. for the IHRSA Legislative Summit. The summit focused on two particular acts that representatives are trying to get passed to better improve our nations health in the way of holistic instead of reactive! It is an exciting time for the health industry and this is a great opportunity to change the way our health care system works! Hopefully these two Acts have sparked your interest and want to help you get out there and do something. Be sure to contact your local representative and get active!”

Renowned Professor Tags Obesity As Biggest Health Threat

“Ask world renowned public health professor Mariano Giacchi about the gravest problem facing societies worldwide and his answer may come as a surprise. It’s obesity. Not AIDS, malaria or avian bird flu — obesity. ’We are not talking about just the personal, physical level, but about the socio-economic and societal level all around the world, not just the west,’ Giacchi said during an interview in Dover Monday morning. ‘Obesity is the main epidemiological issue around the world. This is particularly true for children.’ Giacchi — professor of biology and director of the Public Health program at the roughly 750-year-old University of Siena in Tuscany, Italy — spent Sunday night with an old friend, Rose Manes, a former Associate Professor of Health Records Administration at Bridgeport College in Connecticut.”

Technogym Emirates LLC Offers Wellness Support To Al Noor Training Centre For Children With Special Needs

“Technogym Emirates LLC recently gifted the children of Al Noor School two Technogym Treadmill and installed it in the school's gym offering a lifetime service as well. Mr. Christian Dietrich, Managing Director, Technogym Emirates LLC, said, ‘The joy of running indoors helps our youth of today to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. It's important that schools of today set the right dietary habits and training programs that encourage children to take pleasure in walking and running in the most natural way possible, exercising their heart and burning off excess fat. We are very happy to make this contribution to Al Noor School and aim to consistently make a difference by encouraging a wellness way of life to our society.’”

Government Failing To Tackle Obesity - Lamb

“There has been a 41% rise in one year in the number of people undergoing stomach surgery for obesity, new figures have revealed. The figures come from a parliamentary answer given to Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb. Commenting, Norman Lamb said: ‘The Government’s failure to tackle rocketing adult and childhood obesity is one of its biggest embarrassments. Obesity surgery should only be used in very extreme cases and is not a quick fix solution. The Government is now spending an enormous amount on treating obesity and not nearly enough on prevention. We’re in danger of treating the symptom rather than the underlying causes. ‘It should be easier for people to work exercise into their daily routines and it is vital that children know from an early age about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.’”

Friday, May 23, 2008

CDC Doc to GlobalFit Summit: Wellness Quadruples Your Money

"Every dollar spent on the wellness of your employees will save you about $4 in the long run," Dr. L. Casey Chosewood of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told a group of corporate wellness executives at the GlobalFit Workplace Wellness Summit in Philadelphia last week. Now in its second year, the GlobalFit Summit brought together more than 125 industry executives for a full day of information, networking and even exercise. ‘We're here today to foster a new corporate culture,’ said David Giampaolo, GlobalFit's Chairman of the Board. ‘Employee fitness and wellness is vital to the financial health of a company. The Summit gives employers the tools to take that next step towards more effective workplace wellness promotion, towards employees that are leading healthier lives.’ In addition to Dr. Chosewood, the Summit featured presentations by Dr. Gary Foster, Professor of Medicine and Public Health and the Director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University; Mark Blondman, Esq., CHRO of Blank Rome LLP; Joe Moore, President and CEO, International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association; and fitness expert Kathy Smith, author of "Feed Muscle, Shrink Fat" (Meredith Books, 2008).”

Lifestyle Choices Can Prevent Diabetes

“In a study that demonstrates lifestyle choices can strongly influence health, researchers in the U.S. and China reported Friday that eating more vegetables, consuming less alcohol and exercising can delay or prevent diabetes. The study examined 577 high-risk Chinese adults over a 20-year period to examine the consequences of encouraging people to change their lifestyles. The results showed that diet and exercise reduced the incidence of diabetes by about 43 percent over the study’s period. After 20 years, 80 percent of those who modified their diet and exercised more had diabetes, compared with 93 percent who made no changes, said Guangwei Li of the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing and Ping Zhang at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). ‘The challenge is to translate research findings into substantial clinical improvements for patients. Although prospects are hopeful, they are not assured,’ the journal Lancet wrote in a commentary.”

NATA Joins "Exercise Is Medicine" Program

“The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) recently became an official supporter of the ‘Exercise is Medicine’ initiative, a new program launched by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Association and more than 50 other organizations. The program is designed to encourage America's patients to incorporate physical activity and exercise into their daily routine. The primary objective of the "Exercise is Medicine" program is to encourage athletic trainers, physicians and other health care providers to record physical activity as a vital sign during patient visits. Able patients will be advised to participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity, and 10 minutes of stretching and light muscle training, five days a week. ‘Physical inactivity is a fast-growing public health problem in this country and contributes to a variety of chronic diseases and health complications,’ said NATA President Chuck Kimmel, ATC. ‘We're pleased to support this worthy program dedicated to increasing physical activity, which has proven effective in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even cancer and depression.’”

People Failing To Exercise Despite Being Unhappy With Appearance

"Despite Feeling Unhappy With Their Appearance And General Health, 73 Per Cent Of The Public Are Failing To Exercise In Accordance With Government Guidelines On Exercise. A quarter are also unaware of what sort of foods they should be eating for good health, according to the survey by a European health and sports nutrition company. Of the 1,376 people polled, only 30 per cent exercised more than 2.5 hours a week, in line with government recommendations. A quarter of respondents said they put no time aside for exercise at all. Most (65 per cent) cited lack of time as the reason, however 40 per cent said they did not enjoy exercise and 32 per cent had ‘better things to do’. More than 40 per cent felt they ate too much while 24 per cent ate in accordance with others around them, particularly citing treats in the office as a problem for them.”

Costs of Obesity Add to Business Overhead

“Employers are growing more concerned about higher costs associated with overweight employees. Public health analysts say a big part of the increased cost of health insurance has to do with treating obesity-related health problems.”

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Exercise Important in the Battle Against Type 2 Diabetes

“More Americans have type 2 diabetes than ever before. And never have so many been at risk for developing this potentially debilitating and sometimes fatal disease. Studies show that up to 80 percent of the cases are preventable with increased physical activity, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle. At a minimum, proper diet and exercise can help control type 2 diabetes and sometimes delay onset. Exercise helps the body use glucose for energy, keeping blood sugar at healthy levels. Exercise also helps people maintain their weight so they don't become obese, which puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Those who are beginning exercise should start off slowly. Once exercise becomes habit, you'll kick yourself for not having started sooner. But you'll need to stick with it long enough for it to become habit. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) offers these tips: Keep it interesting. Choose several activities you like. Health clubs offer a variety of exercise options in a single location.” ike. Health clubs offer a variety of exercise options in a single location.”

STOP Obesity Alliance Announces New Research Indicating That Employers Want to Address Obesity in the Workplace, Need More Guidance

“Employers and employees agree: The workplace is an appropriate setting for responding to weight management issues, according to new research by the Strategies to Overcome and Prevent (STOP) Obesity Alliance and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. ‘Effective obesity prevention interventions can help save millions of American lives and reduce health care costs in our nation. The workplace is where adults spend the bulk of their time and employers can play an important role in promoting healthy lifestyles and providing options to overcome overweight and obesity,’ said Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H.”,405481.shtml

Technogym Sets Up 20 Centers For The Olympic Athletes’ Preparation With Its Most Innovative Technologies

“The Italian company, leader in the fitness, wellness and athletic preparation sector, has been appointed as Fitness Equipment Exclusive Official Supplier to the Beijing Olympic Games which will be held in August 2008. In Beijing Technogym will set up 10 training facilities including the main fitness centre inside the Olympic Village with around 1000 cardio and strength equipment. A fully-equipped wellness centre will be also available for BOCOG staff and another centre for the 20,000 journalists attending the event. Technogym will offer state-of-the art technology and services to manage all the above mentioned facilities providing qualified fitness trainers.”

Healthy At Work: Wellness Panel Explains Bottom Line

“As the cost of health care continues to climb, many businesses find that preventing problems through company wellness initiatives cuts costs, or at least reduces the severity of increase. Wellness programs can range from tips on better health habits to retaining lifestyle coaches, tapping interactive Web resources and establishing benefits policies with incentives for healthier lifestyles. Money and culture are two of the biggest challenges to starting healthy programs in the workplace, according to a panel of wellness program professionals. Health-care costs in the U.S. amount to $2.3 trillion and account for 15 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Research shows that keeping employees healthy with preventive programs saves health-care costs. A University of Michigan Health Management Research Center study shows the medical costs for a 45- to 54-year-old in a low health risk profile at $2,081, compared to high risk at $5,813, not including productivity loss, time off work and other business costs. Wellness programs can cost as little as $50 per person annually to as much as $400 per person, and more. Participation incentives are also often used and can cost more than the programs themselves.”

Everlast Worldwide and 24 Hour Fitness Partner to Launch New Branded Exercise Class

“Everlast Worldwide, Inc., manufacturer, marketer and licensor of sporting goods, apparel, footwear, and other active lifestyle products under the Everlast brand name and 24 Hour Fitness, the largest privately-owned U.S. fitness chain, have announced a new marketing partnership. The partnership aligns Everlast and 24 Hour Fitness, two fitness industry leaders, and introduces a new, proprietary, dynamic, boxing for fitness class, the Everlast Shadow Box Workout. The partnership is part of an overall brand strategy for Everlast to become synonymous with the gym culture. ‘24 Hour Fitness is the leader in fitness clubs in the country and Everlast is excited to be aligned with such a great brand. We now have the opportunity to reach 24 Hour Fitness members with an authentic Everlast boxing workout, quality equipment and apparel which will enhance their overall fitness experience,’ said Adam Geisler, President of Everlast.”,404142.shtml

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brazil: Chinese Companies Take Part In Latin American Fitness Fair For First Time

“Eight Chinese companies are to exhibit their products at the 9th IHRSA/Fitness Brasil - Latin American Conference & Trade Show, the biggest fitness show in Latin America, the sales manager of Fitness Brasil told macauhub. Ricardo Sposte said that the organisers of the fair, which is scheduled to take place between 4 and 6 September in Sao Paulo, were this year contacted by Jing Mu, a Beijing company specialising in taking Chinese delegations to business fairs throughout the world, in order to set up a partnership that resulted in the first participation of mainland Chinese exhibitors at the event, which is expected to receive 25,000 visitors. Sposte also said that deals at the fair totalled 30 million reais (US$18.2 million) e, for this year, ‘growth of 15 percent in turnover’ was expected. The IHRSA/Fitness Brasil - Latin American Conference & Trade Show is the biggest fitness business event in Latin America and the third biggest in the world after events in the United States and Germany. The fair is exclusively aimed at sector businesspeople, such as owners of gyms, spas, clubs and hotels, and has 130 exhibitors each year. Fitness Brasil, which has been in the market for 18 years, works to promote business and provide information on the fitness, health and wellbeing sector, and is the Brazilian representative of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).”

Spend Your Rebate Check On Something That Will Last - Your Body

“The government is hoping you will go out and spend your check and buy stuff. Of course what you do with your hard earned dollars is entirely up to you, but I would like to make a suggestion. Invest some of the money on the most important asset of all - Your Body. Your health and fitness is a lifetime investment. Every minute we workout and train our body we are investing in our future. Think about it like trying to build financial wealth. It's the exact same thing when it comes to our health. Every time you fitness walk or jog, you are investing in your cardiovascular system. When you strength train and lift weights you are building up your muscle mass portfolio. So take that rebate check and buy a bicycle, hire a trainer, buy exercise DVDs, invest in a good blender or juicer, pay for gym membership, get a life coach, the list is endless but I would like to hear from others how they have invested in their health.”

China's Child Obesity Problem 'Ballooning'

“Child obesity is ballooning into a big problem in China as 'little emperors' are increasingly getting an appetite for the Western couch-potato way of life, according to a study presented in Geneva. Almost one in five children under seven is overweight and more than seven percent are obese, according to a study of the Chinese National Task Force on Childhood Obesity, presented at the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Health Organisation. ‘These numbers are higher than in European countries, while the gross domestic product in China is much lower,’ said Ding Zongyi, who led the study. ‘Only the United States have higher rates,’ he added. The Chinese experts looked at 80,000 children from 11 major cities, and found an increase of 156 percent in the numbers of obese children between 1996 and 2006. ‘This rate of increase has gone out of control,’ Ding told AFP, underlining that the obesity rate has exceeded economic growth."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

50 the New 40?

“As a Baby Boomer who recently turned 50, I think I like the idea that I’m actually considered 40 in some circles. The National Center for Health Statistics says two-thirds of us feel younger than we actually are, but half of those in the 55-64 age group have high blood pressure, and two in five are obese. There are signs, however, that we Baby Boomers realize we actually need a regimen of cardio, strength, flexibility and balance training to enjoy comfortable retirement years. The International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association reports the number of members over age 55 in its 4,000 facilities climbed from 7.3 million to 7.9 million from 2000 to 2005. As Baby Boomers age, fitness experts advise that exercise facilities to focus on their many needs, including tai shi and low-impact aerobics to help those with arthritis and balance problems.”

America Has To Get Moving To Curb Epidemic

“The problem at first was that the problem was ignored: For almost two decades, young people in the United States got fatter and fatter — ate more, sat more — and nobody seemed to notice. Not parents or schools, not medical groups or the government. But since the alarm was finally sounded in the late 1990s, the problem has been the country’s reaction: a fragmented response that critics say suffers lack of direction and money to back it up. ‘The sense of this as a national health priority just doesn’t come through,’ said Jeffrey P. Koplan of Emory University, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and chairman of the Institute of Medicine’s 2004 study of childhood obesity. The top recommendation of that seminal report was for the government to convene a high-level, interdepartmental task force to guide a coordinated response. It never happened. But U.S. epidemic won’t be reversed by federal fiat alone; responsibility lies also with individuals, the health community, corporations, local governments and families. Still, health experts insist that strong leadership is crucial. But advocates say the limited power of persuasion and lesser state and local resources make forceful federal measures imperative. Jeffrey Levi urges an all-hands mobilization similar to what the government has demanded in advance of a possible flu pandemic. “Obesity has potentially as great, if not greater, an impact on public health,:” said Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health.”

Even A Little Exercise Goes A Long Way

“If you are not very active and find that you are tired often, you might try walking, yoga, cycling, pilates or any other form of simple exercise. By being engaged in simple, regular and low intensity exercise sedentary people who consistently complain of fatigue can perk up their energy levels by 20 percent and ward off fatigue by 65%, according to a recent study by the University of Georgia.”

Nutrient-Dense Supplement Could Help Overweight, Study

“Overweight people could benefit from taking a daily portion-controlled, nutrient-dense food supplement, according to a recent study. Conducted by researchers at the Department of Health and Exercise Science, University Of Oklahoma, USA, the study examined physiological response of participants to an exercise program combined with daily supplementation with a commercially-available high-protein/low-carbohydrate and low-fat, nutrient-dense food supplement. According to their findings, after ten weeks of supplementation, the group of overweight volunteers had ‘significantly decreased total energy, carbohydrate and fat intake’, as well as increased protein and fiber intake.”

Monday, May 19, 2008

What's the Best Way to Fight Obesity?

“A couple of years ago, Virginia Utility Protection Service President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Pevarski looked in the mirror and decided he could stand to lose a few pounds. You look at that [reflection], and you can see the trending going in the wrong direction because you are sedentary,’ Pevarski said. ‘I lost 30 pounds.’ The weight loss proved to be more than just a personal accomplishment. It also became a catalyst for a companywide commitment to health wellness. Since 2007, VUPS has invested $10,000 to outfit an exercise room with treadmills, an elliptical machine and a big-screen television. It has offered employees health assessments and monthly wellness talks. And, beginning in February, VUPS has participated in a work site weight control study conducted by Virginia Tech's newly established Center for Translational Obesity Research. VUPS is now one of 16 area businesses that have agreed to participate in the project. Employees have already changed daily habits. Long term, employees aren't the only ones who stand to benefit from increased attention to health and fitness.
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, workplace physical activity programs can reduce short-term sick leave by 6 percent to 32 percent, reduce health care costs by 20 percent to 55 percent, and increase productivity by 2 percent to 52 percent.”

American Heart Association Ranks America's Most Heart Friendly Cities for Women

“Heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women, may hit closer to home than many realize. Today, the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement released a study, conducted by Sperling's BestPlaces, revealing the nation's 10 most – and least - heart friendly cities for women. Minneapolis-St. Paul took the title of Most Heart Friendly City For Women with the lowest cardiac mortality rate for women, low hypertension rates and highest exercise rates. Nashville, on the other hand, finished at the bottom of the rankings with high obesity and smoking rates.”

Nautilus Tones Up After Proxy Fight

“Nautilus Inc. is a fitness company that's starting to get back in shape. After a year of financial turmoil and a controversial board and management shake-up, the Vancouver, Wash.-based fitness equipment maker's stock price has risen as it works toward refocusing itself under the helm of new CEO Edward Bramson. ‘We've been focusing on level-setting the business, taking a look at cost structures and getting ourselves organized and looking forward,’ said Tim Joyce, Nautilus' senior vice president and general manager. Last week, Nautilus -- known largely for its signature Bowflex brand home gym product -- reported a net loss of $6.4 million, or 20 cents per share, for the first quarter. The losses reflected two one-time charges: $8 million from canceling the purchase of a Chinese factory, and $2.4 million in severance costs related to the March departure of former CEO Bob Falcone.”

High Five for Fiserv

“We are upgrading our rating on Fiserv from ‘Market Perform’ to ‘Market Outperform’ and are establishing a 12-month target price of $62. We are basing our rating on several factors, including the reversal of the Bank of America in-house risk, the exploration of re-branding initiatives geared towards large banks, channel checks indicating relative price stability among a wide range of product categories, and generally positive bank spending trends reported by several other companies subsequent to Fiserv's first-quarter call.”

Friday, May 16, 2008

Fiserv Introduces Checkfree Paymentview

“Fiserv, a provider of information technology services to the financial and insurance industries, has released its CheckFree PaymentView solution. This solution is a Web-based payments monitoring system with a dashboard view across existing check, cash, wire, automated clearing house (ACH), credit and debit card activities. Along with multiple operational cost-savings and fee income opportunities, the company’s officials pointed out, PaymentView gives banks of any size and their corporate treasury clients real-time risk management capabilities. ‘PaymentView is an exciting solution using interactive Web 2.0 technology and is designed to offer our bank clients and their corporate customers an intuitive, personalized offering for operational and payment risk monitoring across all payment types,’ said Sam Robb, vice president of global payment solutions at CheckFree, now part of Fiserv.”

Electronic Commerce Pioneer Pete Kight of Fiserv, Inc.
Receives 2008 Ellis Island Medal of Honor

“Peter J. Kight, vice chairman of Fiserv, Inc., was among this year’s recipients of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor presented by the National Ethnic Coalition (NECO) on May 10th in New York City. The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is awarded to outstanding Americans who have distinguished themselves as citizens of the United States and have enabled their ancestry groups to maintain their identities while becoming integral parts of American life. Kight founded CheckFree, the electronic payment company in 1981, and was its CEO until Fiserv acquired CheckFree in December 2007.”

Mass. Teens Watch TV, But Not What They Eat

“Despite widespread concern about the burgeoning waistline of America's teenagers, Massachusetts adolescents last year ate no better than they did six years earlier, while remaining glued to their televisions and computers. Only 15 percent said they regularly consume the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, according to a statewide survey of thousands of teenagers released yesterday. And more than 1 out of 4 high schoolers surveyed said they plopped in front of the television for at least three hours daily. Obesity specialists said the findings are a reflection of a society that eats too much, exercises too little, and increasingly lives in neighborhoods where outdoor exercise is perceived as dangerous or where sidewalks do not exist. ‘I would wonder aloud why we would expect an improvement; the behaviors we're talking about are very difficult to change,’ said Aviva Must, an obesity researcher at the Tufts University School of Medicine. The state's public health commissioner, John Auerbach, formed a task force two months ago to figure out how best to battle obesity and to listen to the experiences of states such as Maine and Arkansas that have been recognized for their campaigns to reduce obesity. ‘We were aware there were a number of different initiatives that were occurring at the local level, the state level, and among foundations,’ Auerbach said. ‘But there wasn't a coordinated effort to bring each of the interested parties together. That's what we're doing now.’”

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Heart Disease Starts Early In Life, and Childhood Obesity is a Key Culprit Study Says

“Two of the biggest threats to heart health that trace back to childhood are prehypertension -- blood pressure just below the official high blood pressure reading of 140/90 -- and obesity. Indeed, people in the study with prehypertension had more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including obesity, high levels of blood fats such as cholesterol, and diabetes. ‘Obesity in childhood is the only consistent factor predicting cardiac enlargement in adults," he said. "It also predicts adult vascular stiffness.’ That is a formal medical term for what most people call hardening of the arteries. ‘These observations give a compelling reason for pursuing preventive, personalized intervention strategies at an early age in order to evaluate obesity and underlying cardiovascular disease risk factors,’ Berenson said in a statement.”

Why Cancer Prevention Is A Weighty Health Issue

“Research has shown that fat cells release hormones which can increase the risk of cancer. A recent survey commissioned by World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) found that 50 per cent of people are not aware that being overweight is a cause of cancer. "We still have a long way to go in terms of getting across the message that people can make a real difference to their cancer risk," says Lisa Cooney, head of education for WCRF. Scientists believe there are several reasons for the link between body fat and cancer risk. One example is the relationship between excess fat and the hormonal balance in the body. Research has shown that fat cells release hormones such as oestrogen, which increases the risk of cancers such as breast cancer. Studies have also shown that fat, particularly if it is stored around the waist, encourages the body to produce substances known as growth hormones. Having high levels of these hormones is linked to a greater risk of cancer. ‘You don't have to be going to the gym every day to count yourself as physically active,’ Lisa adds. ‘Everyday activities such as brisk walking, cycling, sweeping or vacuuming all count towards your daily total.’ Being physically active reduces the risk of colon cancer and probably helps prevent post-menopausal breast cancer and womb cancer, say researchers.”

Healthy Weight Is A Must For Heart Patients

“Overweight or obese people taking medications to cut heart disease risk can't benefit from drugs alone. They need to exercise regularly and maintain healthy weight. A study by researchers from Wake Forest University School of medicine in Winston-Salem, NC examined 6814 people aged from 45 to 84. From 60% to 85% of participants were overweight and from 30% to 50% were obese, depending on demographic group. These figures mean that obesity is an epidemic, affecting quality of life of most Americans. The study urges that people need to understand that pills can't help if they keep living an unhealthy life. Those overweight and obese will face heart risk despite of medications they take. This is why researchers urge the need of regular exercising and maintaining healthy weight before heart problems come to them, because it's easier to prevent a disease than to correct it.”

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Launches New National Adult Fitness Test

“The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) launched its new national Adult Fitness Test today. The online self-test, available at , measures overall fitness levels by assessing aerobic fitness, muscular strength, endurance, flexibility and body composition. The Adult Fitness Test was launched at Results Gym in Washington, D.C., with the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, Acting Surgeon General Dr. Steven Galson, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Tennessee and The Biggest Loser contestant, Bernardo "Bernie" Salazar. Council member and fitness expert Denise Austin led a group of adults through a demonstration of the test. ‘While many Americans know physical activity is important for leading a healthy life and reducing the risk for many serious diseases, many Americans don't know where to begin,’ says Wamp, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Fitness Caucus. "Everyone has a point at which their new fitness regimen should start, and this test will help determine what level of activity is best for each individual.",392774.shtm

Teen Exercise May Cut Breast Cancer Risk

“New research shows that exercise during the teen years - starting as young as age 12 - can help protect girls from breast cancer when they're grown. Middle-aged women have long been advised to get active to lower their risk of breast cancer after menopause and now it appears that starting young pays off, too. ‘This really points to the benefit of sustained physical activity from adolescence through the adult years, to get the maximum benefit,’ said Dr. Graham Colditz of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the study's lead author. Researchers tracked nearly 65,000 nurses ages 24 to 42 who enrolled in a major health study. They answered detailed questionnaires about their physical activity dating back to age 12. Within six years of enrolling, 550 were diagnosed with breast cancer before menopause. A quarter of all breast cancer is diagnosed at these younger ages, when it is typically more aggressive The biggest impact was regular exercise from ages 12 to 22. The women at lowest risk reported doing 3 hours and 15 minutes of running or other vigorous activity a week - or, for the less athletic, 13 hours a week of walking. Typically, the teens reported more strenuous exercise, while during adulthood, walking was most common.”

Fiserv Wins Gold Award as One of the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles

“The National Business Group on Health (NBGH), a national non-profit organization of large employers, today honored Fiserv, Inc., a leading provider of information technology services to the financial and insurance industries, for its commitment and dedication to promoting a healthy workplace and encouraging a healthy lifestyle for its employees and their families. Fiserv is one of 52 employers who received the Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles award at the Leadership Summit sponsored by the NBGH‘s Institute on Costs and Health Effects of Obesity. Fiserv received a Gold Award in recognition of its successful wellness program, aimed at helping employees and their families adopt healthier lifestyles. This is the first year Fiserv has won a Gold Award, and the third year it has been recognized, receiving a Silver Award in 2006 and 2007. Fiserv launched its wellness initiative in 2003, developing a comprehensive program to address chronic disease and to keep associates healthy. The strategy includes building a solid foundation for wellness benefits for Fiserv’s 25,000 employees in nearly 200 facilities across the United States.”

Tackle Obesity Like Smoking-Researcher Tells Govts

“Tackling the global obesity epidemic will require governments to take similar action to that many used to curb smoking, a top researcher said on Wednesday. This could include regulations that restrict how companies market "junk" food to children and requirements for schools to serve healthy meals, said Professor Boyd Swinburn, a public health researcher who works with the World Health Organisation. ‘The brakes on the obesity epidemic need to be policy-led and governments need to take centre stage,’ Swinburn, a researcher at Deakin University in Australia, told Reuters at the 2008 European Congress on Obesity. ‘Governments have to lead the way they did with the tobacco epidemic. We need hard-hitting messages.’ Action is urgent because, aside from sub-Saharan Africa, nearly every country has suffered a dramatic rise in the number of obese people in the past 30 years. That increase has likely been a tripling in many industrialised nations, he said. The World Health Organisation classifies around 400 million people around the world as obese, 20 million of them children under the age of five.”

Research Links Common Chemicals To Obesity

“Exposure in the womb to common chemicals used to make everything from plastic bottles to pizza box liners may programme a person to become obese later in life, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. Their studies of mice showed animals exposed to even tiny amounts of the chemicals during development were fatter when they grew older compared with mice not exposed to the compounds, they told the 2008 European Congress on Obesity. ‘We are talking about an exposure at very low levels for a finite time during development, said Jerry Heindel of the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. ‘The fact that it is such a sensitive period, it may be altering the tissue and making people more susceptible to obesity.’”

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

California Lawmakers Take a Stab at Legislating Healthy Habits

“Last week, an Assembly committee approved a bill that would require companies bidding on California state contracts to provide wellness benefits for employees. It's not a big part of anybody's health reform package, and the odds aren't good that AB 2360 by Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) will become law, but the attempt represents a significant shift in thinking about health care and how it can be legislated. ‘I truly believe we'd be a lot better off in California if we try to figure out a way to encourage people to get and stay healthy,’ Levine said. ’So much of Western medicine is geared to reacting when something goes wrong that we don't pay a lot of attention to staying away from trouble. This bill is another attempt to encourage good healthy habits,’ Levine said. A generation ago, attempts to legislate wellness and healthy habits were unheard of. They're still rare now, but less so. Levine's bill would apply to companies with 10 or more employees bidding on contracts worth more than $1 million. Businesses could comply in a variety ways -- by subsidizing memberships for fitness clubs, installing fitness facilities, sponsoring employee athletic teams or providing employees with health information. The bill is sponsored by the International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association, which represents more than 9,000 health and fitness facilities, and more than 700 equipment suppliers in 71 countries. The vote to approve Levine's bill in the Business and Professions Committee was 7-3. Democrats voted yes, Republicans voted no. The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.”

Nautilus Soars On Heavy Volume; NYSE Requests Statement

“Shares of Nautilus Inc. soared on heavier-than-normal volume Monday, reaching a 5-month high in intraday trading. A spokesperson for the fitness product maker was not immediately available for comment. The stock hiked up 31% at $6.77 on volume of 1 million shares, closing in on triple the full-day average over the past 30 days of about 383,000 shares. The intraday high of $6.82 was the highest price seen since Dec. 11. NYSE Euronext the exchange on which Nautilus shares trade, said it contacted the company requesting a statement whether there are any corporate developments which may explain the unusual activity in the stock. The shares have now more than doubled since the April 25 close of $3.25. Nautilus said it was conducting 'a thorough review of each business unit, with particular focus on operating effectiveness and costs, market positioning and product innovation.’”

The Costs of Weight on Business

“In the last 30 years, the rate of obesity in the United States has more than doubled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 32 percent of adults in the U.S. are overweight and 34 percent are obese, as defined by the World Health Organization. Maintaining healthy weight is important to workers themselves and should also be a high priority for employers who value their employees' health. Last year, a Duke University Medical Center study of the health records of more than 11,000 university employees found that obese workers filed twice the number of workers' compensation claims, had seven times higher medical costs from those claims and lost 13 times more days of work from work injury or work illness than other workers. The reality is that preventing obesity is considerably cheaper than treating people once they become obese. The Conference Board says wellness programs to address the obesity issue can get return on investment (ROI) of up to $5 per $1 invested.”

More Than an Exercise in Vanity

“Healthy muscles, researchers say, are those that have been worked, stressed and pushed to their limit so that they have enough power and strength to get you through life, especially as you grow older. And keeping muscles fit takes effort, which means regular training with weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise even if the results are not a sculptured look, these experts add. If you don’t work your muscles, they will atrophy, especially as you grow older. Older people often fall because they are too weak to brace themselves, and they have trouble with steps and opening jars because their muscles have lost so much strength. There are two aspects to healthy muscles: endurance and strength, said Robert H. Fitts, an exercise physiologist at Marquette University and chairman of the biology department there. Those who try to lift at the gym can end up using weights that are not heavy enough to fully stimulate their muscles. That is especially true of women, Dr. Kraemer said, even those who work with personal trainers. While women often say they are afraid they will bulk up, this fear is unfounded, Dr. Kraemer and others say. Acquiring muscle mass requires testosterone levels that women don’t have. Instead, the toning that many women say they want comes from lifting heavy weights.”

Monday, May 12, 2008

In The Fitness Industry: Fight the Good Fight

“It seems everywhere we turn, there is a new study out on the importance of regular exercise and how it can lessen existing conditions or prevent future problems. In recent postings on IHRSA’s website, the headlines speak for themselves, ‘Exercise May Reduce Premature Birth,’ ‘20 Minutes of Brisk Activity Reduces Depression,’ ‘Aerobic Exercise Keeps Us Young,’ ‘A Month of Exercise Helps Ease Heart Failure,’ just to name a few. IHRSA, along with many health and fitness professionals will be meeting May 21 and 22 in Washington DC for the 6th Annual IHRSA Legislative summit. The main focus of the summit will be giving support for The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Bill. This bill helps people pay for fitness programs and exercise equipment by using pre-tax health investment accounts such as health savings accounts and medical savings accounts. IHRSA describes this as ‘a positive step towards covering the costs of preventative measures.’ The second point of focus will be The Workforce Health Improvement Program (WHIP) Act. This act allows an easy route for employers to deduct the cost of health club memberships for their employees without involvement of the IRS. This will help employees of all companies, no matter how large or small, lead healthier lifestyles. Clearly, the importance of incorporating exercise into one’s lifestyle cannot and should not be ignored. It is our job as fitness professionals; to offer solutions for a healthier lifestyle to all those who wish to attain optimal health. Get the word out to the community, spread knowledge of the benefits of exercise to all and help inspire others to adopt a healthier lifestyle.”

Companies Offer Wellness Programs To Cut Insurance Costs

“Such company initiatives to promote worker wellness -- from on-site yoga classes to smoking cessation programs -- are becoming more widespread as employers wrestle with soaring health care costs, said Geri Recht, principal in the Pittsburgh office of management consulting firm Towers Perrin and group leader of health and welfare for the firm's Pittsburgh and Ohio region. ‘In the last five years it's become a bigger and bigger trend,’ she said. ‘It started with some [health club] discount programs and progressed to being as aggressive as hiring someone to be on site ... to manage employee wellness.’ A study released this year by the American Institute for Preventive Medicine found 62 percent of all companies -- ranging from small to medium and large -- offer some type of wellness program. While five years ago wellness programs typically were offered by insurance companies as part of benefit plans, now employers are anxious to develop and execute them internally to make sure they impact as many workers as possible, said Ms. Recht. "Today, it's the employer's program."

Exercise Helps Grandparents Keep Up With Little Ones

“As Americans live longer and stay healthier into their 60s and beyond, grandparents are under more pressure to keep up with the new kids in their lives. The oldest members of the baby boom generation are moving into their 60s, and many are grandparents themselves; others rely on their own aging parents to help with child care. Injuries are common but often preventable. Maintaining a high level of fitness helps, said Dr. Robert Schoene, a professor at the University of California-San Diego's School of Medicine who has studied the effects of aging on exercise — and has regularly seen injured grandparents. ‘People feel that once they get to a certain age they can't train any more,’ Schoene said. ‘But barring disease, people at almost any age should be able to do aerobic and strength training.’,5143,700224534,00.html

Study Confirms Childhood, Adolescent Obesity Influence Cardiac Health

“A new study has confirmed that childhood and adolescent obesity negatively impacts vascular endothelial function, which in turn is linked to cardiac health. It is a widely known fact that healthy endothelium (a single cell layer that lines all blood vessels) is vital in maintaining vascular health. The study was aimed to investigate the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and endothelial function measured via VOP in 76 children and adolescents with ages ranging from 9 to 18. ‘My colleagues in the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s and I found that regardless of age, race or sex, obesity in children and adolescents negatively impacts their endothelial function. Considering the connection between endothelial function and heart disease, this information is alarming given the high prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity in our country,’ said Judith Groner, MD, a pediatrician in Ambulatory Pediatricsat Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a faculty member of The Ohio State University College of Medicine.”

Motivating Your Teen To Move

“If your teen isn't involved in a team sport, it can be a challenge creating opportunities to be physically active. Benefits to exercise include a healthier self-esteem, better grades and improved quality of sleep. Teens who exercise on a regular basis are also less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, smoke cigarettes or miss school. The American Heart Association suggests that teens raise their heart rates for 20 minutes without stopping, three or more times a week. Aerobic exercises like running, skating, cycling or swimming are good options. Sports like hockey, soccer, basketball or tennis are other alternatives.”

Friday, May 9, 2008

More Than Half Of US Diabetics Have Arthritis

“More than half of U.S. adults with diabetes also have arthritis, raising a serious obstacle for diabetic patients urged to exercise, according to a government study. People with diabetes who exercise have better control of their blood sugar and a much lower risk of heart disease complications. But the new research suggests many diabetics see themselves as unable to exercise because of arthritis, said Julia Simard, a Harvard School of Public Health researcher who has studied rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. More than 46 million Americans have some form of arthritis, and nearly 21 million have diabetes. The study found that 52 percent of diabetics said they also had arthritis. The conditions and the overlap were most common in Americans 65 and older. Other research indicates exercise is important in managing both conditions. Exercise that put less stress on joints, such as walking, biking and aquatics, are recommended for people with arthritis, said Dr. Chad Helmick, a CDC epidemiologist who co-authored the study.”

$100K Hopes To Trim Obesity Problem In D.C.

“The District has the highest rate of overweight kids in the country, but there's hope a new school year will bring healthier food choices to cafeterias. As part of the Healthy Communities Program, General Mills is giving $25,000 to four area schools and organizations that work with young people. The program hopes to improve nutrition and encourage fitness. Twenty-three percent of 10 to 18 year olds are overweight in the District, and D.C. Mayor Adrian says making healthier choices available is a good place to start. ‘The young people of the District of Columbia deserve every opportunity to live fruitful and healthy lives.’ “Choosing Healthy and Rewarding Meals" at Eastern High School is one of the programs that will receive the $25,000 grant from General Mills. Fenty hopes the D.C. Ciity Council will vote in June to make changes in the companies that supply food to public schools.”

Bosses Asked To Wage War On Obesity Crisis By Mixing Work With Play

“Gerry Sutcliffe, the Sports Minister, believes that employers could promote a more active lifestyle through their corporate social responsibility schemes. He will put his proposals, part of a broader Active England campaign before the London 2012 Olympics, to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and CBI in the next month. ‘A healthy workforce is a more productive workforce,’ he said. The corporate sector may argue that it already shoulders some of the responsibility for a fitter nation through subsidised gym membership and cycle-to-work schemes. But British companies are being called on to do more amid widespread fears about rising obesity levels in Britain. More than a quarter of children and young people will be obese by 2050, by which time the public cost of treating related diseases is forecast to have increased by £45.5 billion, according to government research.”

Thursday, May 8, 2008

'No' To Rec Center, 'Yes' To The Rest

“The people of Laramie County did not go for a new community and recreation center in the Capital City. With support from 45 percent of the voters in Tuesday's sixth-penny sales tax election, the $58 million facility ($55 million was on the ballot) will not be built in Cheyenne, unless city leaders find some other opportunity to fund it. After several years of planning, dozens of public meetings and with construction documents in hand, voters turned it down. This is the second time voters have not supported a recreation facility for Cheyenne: In 1996, voters rejected spending $20 million in sixth-penny sales tax money on a recreation facility. ‘In spite of a lot of political rhetoric and a lot of political fluff trying to say it was a need, most voters can think on their own, and I'm glad of that,’ Burns Mayor Vernon Testerman Jr. said. ‘Hopefully it's a wake-up call to the Cheyenne political leaders to say, 'Hey look, we need to think about what we're doing next time.'”

Personal Training Co. Expanding, Newton Firm Sells Franchises

“Hiring a personal trainer used to be considered a luxury afforded only by the rich and famous.
But one-on-one training has become more mainstream in the last decade, and it’s a $4 billion-plus industry that the owners of One2One BodyScapes hope to eventually ride across the country. The Newton company is making a franchise push to expand the number of its private personal training studios outside Massachusetts. Plans call for selling up to 150 locations within five years. Co-owner Rob Shapiro attributes the growing popularity of personal training to a desire to fit effective workouts into busy lifestyles as the importance of exercise is constantly preached to a nation plagued by obesity. A typical One2One studio employs six to 10 trainers that serve 100 to 120 clients who pay $72 to $90 an hour. The company has grown to eight studios in Massachusetts, including five owned by franchisees, since opening its first in Newton in 1997. “We really tried to get out of the health club environment, where clients could just train with a trainer and they didn’t have to worry about the crowds at the facility and waiting in line for equipment,” co-owner Alan Smith said. More than 6.3 million U.S. consumers annually pay for personal training services, according to the Boston-based International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.”

Brunswick Moors Expansion Plans Amid Choppy Economic Waters

“Boat and sports equipment maker Brunswick Corp. won’t enter new business lines to offset dismal market conditions, CEO Dustan McCoy said Wednesday. Speaking at the company’s annual meeting, Mr. McCoy told shareholders that Brunswick would stick to the businesses it knows best: boating, bowling and billiards, and fitness equipment. Brunswick considered diversification into motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles, he said, but decided it posed too great a risk for a company already in a severe slump. Nevertheless, the company is looking to expand into businesses complimentary to boating and recreation equipment, including leveraging its dealer financing business into retail lending and developing and managing recreational marinas. ‘We’re moving into adjacent areas that touch businesses that we perform well in,’ he said. Brunswick also aims to expand its Brunswick Zone XL bowling centers.”

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

American Diabetes Association: On a Mission to Improve Employee Health

“The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and its sister organization, Shaping America's Health, have an organizational mission to help people live healthier, and they want that sentiment to extend to their employees. ‘We wanted to help our employees improve their health styles — the healthy decisions that people make about fitness and nutrition,’ said Emerson Goodwin, director of communication, marketing and public affairs for Shaping America's Health. Studies have shown physically inactive employees cost employers thousands of dollars per year in medical costs and lost productivity, and that amount increases substantially if the employee is obese. Regular physical activity is key to improving employee health, reducing health care costs, increasing productivity and decreasing absenteeism and turnover. With that in mind, in May 2007, ADA and Shaping America's Health began offering their employees the Virgin HealthMiles program, a health rewards program that helps members improve their health by living more active lives.”

Obesity Can Increase The Risk Of Alzheimer's Disease By Up To 80%

“The experts, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and the University of Iowa in the US, found obese people had an increased risk of all types of dementia. Pooled results showed that being underweight increased the risk of any kind of dementia by 36 per cent while being obese increased it by 42 per cent. When it came to Alzheimer's disease, being obese increased the risk by 80 per cent, while obesity also increased the risk of vascular dementia by 73 per cent. Experts do not know exactly why obesity impacts on the risk of dementia, although high blood pressure is thought to play a role. Obesity, smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol could increase the risk of dementia because it leads to damage to the blood vessels in the brain, which in turn leads to the death of brain cells. Today's researchers said high body mass index is also linked to a lack of exercise and depression, both of which are linked to cognitive impairment. Dementia affects between six per cent and 10 per cent of people aged 65 years or older, two-thirds of whom have Alzheimer's disease.”

Women and Heart Attacks

“The gender gap is alive and unwell in heart disease, a new international study finds, with women differing from men on everything from symptoms to treatment in both heart attack and severe chest pain. One of the most striking findings was that women were twice as likely as men to have "normal" or "mild" results on an exam of their heart's blood vessels, with no single blockage taking up more than 50 percent of any one blood vessel. This was despite the fact that their other test results showed they were definitely having a heart attack, or a form of chest pain called unstable angina. In all, among patients with the same level of coronary artery disease, women were significantly less likely than men to receive drugs called beta blockers, statins and ACE inhibitors - all of which are considered crucial to preventing further heart episodes. And no matter how serious their blockages, women were less likely to receive an angioplasty or a stent to open up their blood vessels. By six months after their heart attack or angina attack, women with more advanced coronary artery disease were more likely than men to have died, or to have suffered another heart attack, a stroke or another problem that sent them to the hospital. Only through improvements in diet and exercise habits, quitting smoking, controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, and using medication when needed, will people with non-obstructive disease keep themselves from progressing to worse problems, says Jackson, who is part of the Women's Heart Program at U-M. ‘We need a more comprehensive, whole-body approach to prevention,’ she says.”

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Laugh Your Way To Wellness With Yoga Trend

”Ho ho, ha ha ha,’ students in a fitness class at the University of Michigan Health System chant repeatedly while clapping their hands and walking around the room. They’re just getting warmed up; in the next half-hour, they will stretch their muscles and work on breathing exercises. They’ll also laugh for most of the 30 minutes, from self-conscious giggles to uninhibited belly laughs. All in the name of fitness. This is a “laughter yoga” course, part of a growing trend in parts of the United States, India and other countries. The students are re-learning something children already know instinctively: that laughter makes you feel better. “Kids laugh about 400 times a day, and adults only about 15,” notes Barb Fisher, a certified laughter yoga leader and the instructor of this class offered by the U-M Health System’s MFit health promotion division. “Studies have shown that 20 seconds of a good, hard belly laugh is worth three minutes on the rowing machine,” Fisher says. “However, that does not mean we want to stop doing all other exercises. It means that incorporating laughter yoga can add to the benefits we see from our regular exercise routine.”

Public Urged To Get Active And "May-Kit Happen" This Month

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) announced "May-Kit Happen," a program to recognize Exercise is Medicine™ month by encouraging the public to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle throughout the month of May. May-Kit Happen" asks people to incorporate a little more physical activity into their lives and talk with their physicians during the month of May about what types of exercise are best suited to their health. ‘If there is one single thing you can do to improve your health, there is no doubt it is exercise,’ said Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM, ACSM President and Chair of the Exercise is Medicine initiative. ‘Regular physical activity is so powerful in maintaining and improving health that it should be prescribed, just as medicine or any drug would be. This idea deserves the attention of the month of May. We hope people will pledge to be a little more active this month to gain that positive impact on their health.’

Nautilus, Inc. Announces Results for First Quarter 2008

“Fitness company Nautilus, Inc. today announced unaudited results for the three months ended March 31, 2008. Net sales declines averaging 7% in each of the Company’s Domestic Fitness Equipment business channels were partially offset by a 6% increase in net sales in the Company’s International business which was primarily driven by currency in the first quarter of 2008. Net loss (including the Company’s former apparel business) for the first quarter 2008 was $6.4 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, compared to net income of $2.5 million, or $0.08 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2007. The Company announced that it entered into an agreement to pay $8.0 million to a major supplier, Land America, to settle all claims from the previously announced termination of the agreement to purchase its China-based manufacturing assets. The settlement is expected to be paid in cash in the second quarter of 2008. Separately, the Company extended its supply agreement with Land America by one year to December 31, 2010. Edward Bramson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nautilus, Inc., stated, ‘Management is conducting a thorough review of each business unit with particular focus on operating effectiveness and costs, market positioning and product innovation. We expect to communicate the results of the review and plans for improvement during the third quarter. The strengthening of our balance sheet from the sale of Pearl iZumi has enabled us to fund the share repurchase announced today.’”,379731.shtml

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hit the Gym for Free

“What would entice you to finally go to the gym? A trainer who looks like Brad Pitt? Frequent flier miles for every minute on the stair climber? What if you could go for free for a few days? You can, from May 12-15, as part of Get Active America!, a yearly campaign sponsored by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Assn., a trade organization for commercial health clubs. For those days, guests of members of participating clubs can work out for free. It's designed, as the news release says, so ’more Americans can revitalize their lives and benefit from the supportive environment and professional knowledge that health clubs offer.’”

Translation: You can go and sweat for a few days and see if you like it.

From May 16-18, participating clubs will also hold open houses to make people aware of the benefits of exercise (are there people who don't know?) and allow nonmembers to check out the facilities.

Cambria Suites and Precor Fitness Work It Out

“Choice Hotels International would like to announce a new agreement naming Precor Inc., a global fitness equipment leader, as the exclusive provider of fitness center equipment for the Cambria Suites brand. The new agreement will feature premium Precor cardiovascular and weight equipment as part of the state-of-the-art Refresh fitness club found at all Cambria Suites hotels. In selecting Precor, Cambria Suites brought on board a global leader in health clubs as well as in spa and hotel fitness.”

24 Hour Fitness Gets Personal in Groundbreaking New Brand Campaign

24 Hour Fitness, the largest national fitness club chain, today launched an innovative new advertising campaign starring actual club members who have overcome personal challenges through fitness. The "12 Million Lives" campaign is intended to inspire
people to embark on a life-changing journey by using the power of fitness
to improve their physical and mental well-being. The brand campaign is
unique for the fitness industry and demonstrates an innovative approach to
reaching current and potential club members. The stories presented in the campaign are representative of the millions of members who have been served by 24 Hour Fitness. Since opening its doors 25 years ago, the fitness chain has helped more than 12 million
members in pursuit of their fitness goals, a remarkable record of
achievement that continues today in more than 400 clubs in 15 states across
the country.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fiserv Announces Bank of America and CheckFree Extend Their Strategic Relationship

“Fiserv, Inc. a leading provider of technology services to the financial industry, today announced that Bank of America has renewed its multi-year strategic vendor relationship with CheckFree. ‘Bank of America remains among our most valued customers and the bank’s commitment to the online channel is a driver for everyone here who supports this relationship,” said Steve Olsen, Fiserv group president, Internet Banking and Electronic Payments. The new agreement between the parties includes higher technology and customer support levels for Bank of America's market-leading online consumer bill payment service. ‘Bank of America and CheckFree are committed to continuing to provide our customers with secure, error-free bill pay capabilities online, anytime, anywhere,’ said Lance Drummond, Bank of America eCommerce/ATM executive.”

Obesity Worsens Impact Of Asthma, Study Shows

“Obesity can worsen the impact of asthma and may also mask its severity in standard tests, according to researchers in New Zealand, who studied lung function in asthmatic women with a range of body mass indexes (BMIs). With increasing BMI, FRC (functional residual capacity) was higher, whereas IC (inspiratory capacity) was significantly decreased. ‘This means that among women with greater BMI, an asthma-like episode has the potential to cause greater breathing difficulties than in non-obese women,’ said Dr. Taylor.’”

24 Hour Fitness Announces Partnership with Six U.S. Olympic Hopefuls for Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

“24 Hour Fitness, the largest privately-owned U.S. fitness chain and the Official Fitness Center Sponsor of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, today announced that U.S. Olympians Kerri Walsh, Jeremy Wariner, Adam Wheeler and Brian Olson and U.S. Olympic hopefuls Alicia Sacramone and Adler Volmar have joined Team 24 Hour Fitness as they strive toward making the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and medaling this summer at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. “24 Hour Fitness is proud to continue its support of the United States Olympic Team and help in their ongoing quest for glory at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing,” said Tony Wells, Chief Marketing Officer, 24 Hour Fitness. “These inspiring athletes were selected because they share 24 Hour Fitness’ vision of making fitness accessible for everyone and know the importance of setting goals, working hard and remembering to have fun along the way.” The Olympic Games are a strong part of 24 Hour Fitness’ DNA. A number of their signature athletes are also Olympians – Magic Johnson, Andre Agassi, Shaquille O’Neal, and Lance Armstrong.”