RICHMOND, VA -- The Medical Fitness Association (MFA) has launched a facility certification program for health and fitness centers interested in the medical fitness model.

The certification is a way for health and fitness facilities across the country to benchmark their programs and services against standards and guidelines designed specifically for medically integrated fitness centers, the association announced last month.

“Developed and written by a team of industry professionals, the facility certification program represents a set of nationally derived standards applicable to the design and operation of medically integrated health and fitness facilities,” says Daniel J. Lynch, MS, chairman, MFA Facility Certification Committee. “We believe these standards and guidelines will help health and fitness centers offer safer and more effective programs to the public.”

Based on The Medical Fitness Model: Facility Standards & Guidelines,” published by MFA, the certification process involves an in-depth review of a facility and its adherence to the newly created standards and guidelines.

The factors that distinguish the medical fitness model are: active and regular medical oversight; qualified and credentialed staff; disease management and clinical integration of programs; utilization of an individual’s personal health status in creating an individualized exercise prescription to reduce their overall health risk; safety; and a focus on improving community health.

"With their focus on medically sound prevention and rehabilitation programs, medical fitness centers play a key role in the health and wellness of all Americans,” says Brad Roy, PhD, FACHE, FACSM. “The MFA Facility Certification is an important step toward recognizing this health care contribution and raising the bar on the quality of services provided by the health and fitness industry.”

For more information, visit www.medicalfitness.org.