Category: Prevention

Essence of a Man: A Memoir

Ten years ago, we published a historical narrative of Brown Greene with memoirs from his four adult children. For this Father’s day, we re-issued and updated the book for the Greene family, but the story has resonance for other reasons. Creating this memoir was cathartic for John, as his dad died from a sudden heart attack when John was only 12. Although there are many wonderful traits John attributes to his parents, he also inherited heart disease. Given his professional background in wellness and as a cancer survivor in his 30s, John understood early on the benefits of daily exercise. Once he reached 50, he had his first stress test. Knowing that his father died at 56 of a heart attack, coronary care was critical for him. As a home chef focused on scratch cooking, he has been able to monitor his diet. But diet and exercise alone can’t combat our heredity. Understanding family history gives us a foundation of who we are, but looking into our family medical history gives us tools to potentially better our own health and well-being.

EssenceofaMan2015 (pdf)



Delivering Prevention and Wellness under ACA

The Affordable Care Act moves into high gear Oct 1. with the ability for the uninsured to enroll in federal and state health insurance exchanges. For the first time, a one-stop competitive marketplace for health insurance will exist. No longer will pre-existing conditions be a reason for denial of coverage, and lifetime caps on benefits will be a thing of the past. Government subsidies will reduce the premium costs for many.

The 2010 Census estimates there are 48 million uninsured, which is 15 percent of the population. Interestingly, this number is roughly the same number that IHRSA estimates as being healthclub members (50 million). I have to wonder how many uninsured are using their healthcare dollars for membership fees.

With the Act’s emphasis on prevention and wellness, it will be interesting to see what impact it will have on the health and fitness industry and especially, medical fitness centers. I believe it could be huge and that is the reason that clubs, medical facilities, and Ys should be taking the lead in promoting and educating the public and their members about their state’s enrollment process. I would even go so far, as to suggest we offer a free month’s membership incentive to anyone who enrolls in a health-insurance exchange and who provides appropriate documentation as to eligibility. Also, the health and fitness industry should be using its marketing clout to run public service announcements in the local media. Many states have decided not to participate providing a need for greater local activism.

In my opinion, these new enrollees will be a game changer for our industry. For many with chronic health issues, there will be a new emphasis on managing their health. We should be part of the new delivery mechanism of insurers, physicians and health systems. With so many new consumers in the system, communicating and managing health for many will create new opportunities and a new sub-industry. The health and fitness industry must be part of “getting the message out” if its 30,000-plus locations are to have a place at the table.