To beat obesity, we must learn the lessons that will be taught at Club Industry 2000 - to accumulate the knowledge necessary to win this war.

Enter any school across the country, and you'll see the toll obesity is taking on our nation's youth. At a meeting of the American Diabetes Association (held in June), scientists claimed that up to 45 percent of children with newly diagnosed diabetes suffer from type 2, a disease that can lead to blindness, kidney problems and amputation. One of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes is obesity. In fact, 80 percent of the children with type 2 diabetes are overweight.

Make no mistake: Obesity is a killer, and it is in the classroom. Therefore, it's time for our industry to get back to school. And at Club Industry 2000, school will definitely be in session.

As part of Club Industry's "War on Obesity" program, we are offering a track of seminars dedicated to developing solutions for the weight problems our country faces. These sessions will teach attendees how to put together a successful weight-management program that members will follow. Attendees will also learn how to look past all the weight-management hype - the miracle products, the quick-fix solutions - to find answers that really work.

To give you an idea of what you can expect during these special sessions, we've provided a list of "The War on Obesity" seminars. We've also described each session in detail, given some background on the speakers, and noted the date and time for each seminar. That way, you can make plans to attend the sessions that interest you.

With the information you gather during these seminars, you'll be able to introduce healthy, realistic programs for the overweight people who desperately need your services. That's a big population - and not just limited to children. Obesity may be hurting youngsters, but many adults are affected as well. In fact, research has shown that 97 million American adults, or 55 percent of people over the age of 20, are overweight (a body mass index, or BMI, of 25-29) or obese (a BMI of 30 or higher). That means more than half of the U.S. population requires assistance from the health and fitness industry.

So sharpen your pencils for Club Industry 2000. Bring a notebook. And be prepared to learn some valuable lessons. Because the knowledge you gain during the "War on Obesity" seminars won't just help your business; it will help you save somebody's life.

Wednesday, Oct. 25, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Session B11

Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Session C11

Weight-Loss Success: A Proven System for Delivering Behavior and Lifestyle Breakthroughs to Your Members, Parts 1 and 2

Faculty: Dorene Robinson, director of nutrition and health education, Beyond Fitness Division, Peak Performance

You hear a lot about behavior theories, but what difference does it make unless you know how to apply these theories? How are the new behaviors most effectively reinforced, shaped and solidified? Can behaviors be un-learned? Can "stages of change" be applied in clubs? These and other critical questions will be answered in this two-part session. You'll learn how to apply learning theory to support member weight loss, which, in turn, will translate into increased retention, referrals and sales for your facility. (Registrants must attend both parts of this program. CEUs will not be given unless you attend both parts.)

Thursday, Oct. 26, 8.30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Session E5

Thursday, Oct. 26, 10:30 a.m to 12 p.m. Session F5

The Weighting Game, Coaching Your Clients to Success, Parts 1 and 2

Faculty: Ronda Gates, president, Lifestyles by Ronda Gates, and a licensed pharmacist and author of several nutrition-related books

Successful and profitable weight-loss programs integrate education about nutrition, fitness programming and supportive communication which combines coaching and motivation. In this two-part program, you'll obtain programming ideas, along with an opportunity to learn and practice the skills that blend these elements into customized experiences that can support your client's success. (Registrants must sign up for both parts of this program. CEUs will not be given unless you attend both parts.)

Friday, Oct. 27, 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Session H8

Nutrition and Weight Management Update: Pills and Promises

Faculty: Ronda Gates, president, Lifestyles by Ronda Gates, and a licensed pharmacist and author of several nutrition-related books

New developments and emerging re-search hyped in the media about antioxidants, vitamins, mineral and herbal supplements for weight management, anti-aging, depression, sleep disorders and more raise questions, and create myths and misconceptions that are difficult for even the most experienced health-promotion professional to unravel. This session will provide an update about what's hot and what's not. You'll get the information you need to bring you up to date about the point-of-sale high profit margin that can seduce any health club owner.

Friday, Oct. 27, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Session J3

Winning at Losing: Weight-management Programs for Clubs

Faculty: Laurie Cingle, wellness director, Maryland Athletic Club & Wellness Center

Weight management is one of the top reasons people join a club. Learn the essentials of developing a weight-management program, the different types of programs that will work in your facility and how to implement profitable weight-management programs that will meet the needs of a variety of types of people.

Saturday, Oct. 28, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Session M10

The Psychology of Keeping Weight Off: Getting Through to You Clients

Faculty: Richard Wolff, the HMR Program for Weight Management, Wolff Health & Fitness

With more than one-half of the United States overweight, fitness professionals are desperate to discover methods to keep weight off their clients. Learn how this program gets clients to take off and keep off significant amounts of weight.