Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Standard Time

“The American College of Sports Medicine's Health/Fitness Facility Standards and Guidelines, the object of some industry scorn through 16 years and three printed editions, is on the verge of gaining the ultimate measure of respect — wide acceptance as the basis of new national standards. The third-party health club certification effort has brought together representatives of several organizations that sometimes don't see eye to eye on such matters — ACSM; the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association; YMCA of the USA; the American Council on Exercise; and the Medical Fitness Association — as well as club owners and longtime industry stalwarts in the fields of insurance, medicine, risk management and academe. Steve Tharrett, president of Club Industry Consulting in Highland Village, Texas, and the co-author of the ACSM standards, was in the ACSM delegation that two years ago took the first tentative steps toward health club certification by contacting NSF International (an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based independent organization that develops standards and certifies products for various industries). He says the nature of the third-party certification process ‘pretty much eliminates any chance that I or IHRSA would have to push the standards in a particular direction,’ pointing both to NSF's rules for standards development and the broad range of representatives sitting on the joint committee charged with crafting the document. ‘It'll be better than the ACSM standards, even though I thought we did a good job with them,’ Tharrett says. ‘This will create one universal set of standards that will be good for the consumer and good for the club operator.’”


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