RICHMOND, VA -- The number of medical fitness and wellness centers around the word increased from 875 in 2006 to 950 in 2007, according to Benchmarks for Success 2008, a report from the Medical Fitness Association (MFA), Richmond, VA.

The growth in the number of centers corresponds to an increase in the number of individuals being served by medical fitness facilities. The most recent survey identifies more than 3.3 million members, and this statistic is expected to reach approximately 4 million by 2010, according to the MFA, an organization that serves medical wellness facilities.

Although the health and fitness industry as a whole has reported stagnant membership growth since 2004, the medical fitness segment continues to grow.

“Research indicates that almost half of the U.S. population has some form of chronic disease. It has also been shown that chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, can be managed or prevented through early detection, and improved diet and exercise,” says Hank Boerner, MS, chairman of the Medical Fitness Association. “Focusing on this population is one difference that separates medically integrated health and fitness centers from other segments of the industry.”