Eagan, MN (PRWEB) December 13, 2012
The Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted a roundtable discussion ‘A Healthy and Fit Minnesota’ today, highlighting the formation of a coalition of health and fitness center companies, “Fit Minnesota.” The coalition is made up of Minnesota-based Anytime Fitness, Life Time Fitness, Snap Fitness, and the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association and its local members, along with the nonprofit social service organization, YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities - with a shared goal of increasing the physical activity of all Minnesota residents and, by extension, improving Minnesota’s state of health – physically and fiscally.
Since 1980 the worldwide obesity rate has doubled, and chronic diseases—most of which are related to obesity—cause 60 percent of deaths globally. Poor health on such a massive scale is having a negative impact on economies around the world. A 10% rise in chronic diseases corresponds to a .5% percent reduction of annual economic growth, according to an economic analysis by the World Health Organization. In Minnesota, the numbers are just as staggering: 63% of adults are overweight or obese, resulting in $1.3 billion obesity-related medical costs.
The least expensive way to reduce the incidence of preventable illnesses is to encourage physical activity. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates $124 billion in annual health care savings nationwide if just 10% more Americans became physically active. “FIT Minnesota believes we can continue our state’s leadership role by increasing incentives which encourage physical activity,” remarked Chuck Runyon, CEO, Anytime Fitness. “Study after study have shown that incentives provided by Minnesota health insurers are working.”
In 2006, Medica and Life Time Fitness conducted a study that found a reimbursement on fitness center membership encourages people to exercise regularly. After two years, people who began a regular program of exercise and met the threshold of eight exercise sessions per month had significantly lower costs for prescriptions, doctor appointments, and care at clinics and hospitals. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota conducted a similar study in 2007 and found that 43% of those surveyed joined health and wellness centers because of the discount.
“The health of America has been severely impacted by the crippling physical and financial impact of the weight and obesity epidemic,” said Jeff Zwiefel, Executive Vice President and Chief of Operations, Life Time. “The time for change is now. We must work hard, together, to educate and inform consumers on the undeniable benefits of healthy, active lifestyles and multitude of outlets and tools available to support them as they take personal responsibility for their health. Fit Minnesota is all about advocating for common-sense incentives that encourage every Minnesotan to get more active and fit.”
The ROI is worth it. An editorial written by Senator Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Erik Paulsen, co-chairs of the Congressional Wellness Caucus, stated, “Research shows that employers are seeing a $3-$6 return on every dollar invested in health and wellness programs.”
FIT Minnesota is a coalition of Minnesota-based health and wellness center operators with a shared goal of increasing the physical activity of all Minnesotans. We believe that increased physical activity will lower health care costs, increase productivity and improve quality of life for all Minnesotans. We advocate for common-sense incentives that encourage every Minnesotan to be more active and get fit. The FIT Minnesota coalition includes: Anytime Fitness, Life Time Fitness, Snap Fitness, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association and its local members, and the nonprofit social service organization, YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.
Members of FIT Minnesota generate $8 million annually in federal and state taxes, employ 22,000 Minnesotans and count 946,000 residents as members.