For those of you who regularly read this column (and I'm honestly surprised and flattered when I hear that you do), you may recall how impressed I was with the documentary about fast food and health, “Super Size Me.”
Well, now I am even more impressed with it and its creator Morgan Spurlock after reading in an interview that he is working on editing and simplifying the movie into a version that will be more accessible to children. This movie is Spurlock's way of reaching the growing population of obese children.
Luckily, he is not alone.
In this year's Best of the Best awards (see page 25 for the complete story) the most heavily contested and entered category was, in fact, Children's Programming (unlike best Information Technology Programming, which received no nominations — highlighting a significant problem facing the fitness industry that will be looked at more closely in the pages of Fitness Business Pro in the future). Even more surprising was that several of the other winning categories were centered on bringing fitness to children and teens, and in turn, bringing them into fitness.
The fact that so many fitness facilities (and from the looks of things at last month's Club Industry Show, manufacturers, too) are truly stepping up to the plate is commendable. Their efforts to reach children who aren't getting enough activity in school or at home will help indoctrinate those children into the fitness lifestyle as early as possible. We've all heard the striking statistics about childhood obesity, and I'm glad this industry is doing something about it — even if it is still taking baby steps.
Just last month my wife and I signed up our son Jake for day care at the club where she works as both a yoga instructor and as an acupuncturist. While we have plenty of equally qualified, comparably priced facilities in our area that were just as convenient, we knew this place (which is in a separate building from the main club) was the right choice for us. Getting Jake involved in a quality facility that will allow him to take part in physical activities — along with dance, music, painting and all the other child care/nursery school activities — in a club setting as he gets older gives him a jumpstart on leading a fit and active life. And we know how important that is to his development both physically and mentally.
Now, I realize that not every facility has the staff, the space or the demographics to make this kind of an undertaking worthwhile (this facility has day care, a nursery school and after-school programs for older children). However, it does point out the fact that those that do have the resources and are creative enough to affect a child's life in other ways, may be the long-term winners in the battle against obesity and in building the next generation of members.