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April 2007
Fast News
A Healthy Investment With the ever-growing mountain of data indicating a continuing rise in the incidence of childhood obesity, it is becoming easier for organizations and individuals to speak out against childhood obesity and its causes. But it has proven much harder for advocates to put their money where their mouth is.

That's why a recent announcement that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation intends to spend more than $500 million over the next five years to combat childhood obesity is all the more significant. According to The New York Times, the foundation's financial commitment represents "one of the largest public health initiatives ever tried by a private philanthropy."

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and a 2006 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that 25 million children 17 and under are obese or overweight, roughly a third of the 74 million in that age group. Many of those children are poor and live in neighborhoods offering limited access to safe outdoor play and healthy eating options. "In many cases, the environment makes it almost impossible for them to choose healthy lifestyles," said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the foundation's president and chief executive. "We're going to try to change that."

To do so, the foundation will employ several strategies such as increasing research to enhance understanding of obesity, investing in programs to improve access to healthy food and helping spur the development of safe play spaces.

Small Country, Big Dreams Because the Summer Olympics is an international affair and the largest of all global sporting events, few people give a second thought to the news that influential countries are competing to host the Games in world-class cities like Tokyo, Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro. That said, one can be forgiven for chuckling at April's announcement that the tiny nation of Azerbaijan has formally applied to host the 2016 Games.

According to 2005 estimates, the former Soviet republic has a population of 8.4 million and a gross domestic product of $39 billion, ranking it the world's 90th and 88th largest in those categories, respectively. But to Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliev and his countrymen, the Olympics bid is no laughing matter. The Caucasus nation's economy is growing rapidly, thanks to revenue from abundant oil and gas resources of the adjacent Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan's sports facility building boom is perhaps an indirect result of this newfound wealth. Since 2000, the country has constructed 11 Olympic-grade facilities and 14 more are currently under development.

"A few years ago we would not have thought of this," Aliev told the Associated Press as he opened a sports complex in Masally, located 150 miles south of the Azerbaijan capital city of Baku. "But today the country's sports potential and the growing economic might of Azerbaijan allows us to do so."

In the Field
Company News
  • Star Trac and MYE Entertainment have entered a long-term global distribution and product development partnership.
  • Fair-Play Scoreboards donated 16 custom scoreboards and eight three-sided scoreboards to the Iowa High School Athletic Association for the 2007 high school state wrestling tournament.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated May 21-27 as National Recreational Water Illness Prevention Week to highlight the importance of healthy swimming behaviors.
  • Life Fitness partnered with Apple to introduce commercial exercise equipment featuring seamless iPod integration.
  • The American Academy of Health and Fitness launched SrFit, a new program for certified personal trainers that specifically targets service for older adults.
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine president and CEO Micheal Clark was named to the Business Journal of Phoenix's seventh annual "Forty Under 40" business executives list.

Want to see your name in lights? Send press releases and news to our Web Editor for consideration: webeditor@athleticbusiness.com

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It's Show Time
Timeless Wisdom Tom Morris, author of If Harry Potter Ran General Electric and former professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, will be the opening keynote speaker at ABC on Thursday, Nov. 29, from 2-3 p.m. Morris, one of the most active business speakers in America, will bring the greatest wisdom of the past into the challenges we face now in "True Success: The Art of Achievement."

In challenging and uncertain times, people need ideas they can trust - ideas that have stood the test of time and that can help us achieve success in even the most demanding situations. From Plato and Aristotle to the present day, the wisest people who have ever thought about success and excellence have left us bits and pieces of powerful advice for attaining true success.

In this high-energy, entertaining session, Morris will put all these important insights together as a simple, complete framework of seven universal conditions for achieving deeply satisfying, sustainable excellence in all that we do. His talk will leave a lasting impression and give you immediate ideas you can use.

Conference fee: Cost is just $395 for the first person, $340 per person for the second and third person from the same organization, and $160 per person for each additional person (4th and beyond) from the same organization.

Fast Job
Kansas State University Department of Recreational Services is seeking an assistant director of fitness to manage the planning, development and administration of all aspects of the fitness programs and services.
Don't Miss This
In our next issue: Find out how stadium operators are effectively handling all of those empty cans, bottles and cups with game-day recycling programs.

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Did You Miss This?
In our current issue: The April issue looks at how facility operators and designers are rethinking the locker room - bringing lockers to building users, rather than the other way around.

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And the Survey Said
In response to last month's Quick Question, the only clear winner is the disabled population. A slight majority of you believe at least 15% of your facility's fitness equipment should be designed to accommodate physically disabled users.

Complete Results: Is enough access to fitness equipment being provided to disabled populations? What percentage of your facility's fitness equipment should be designed to accommodate physically disabled users?

  • More than 25 percent: 29%
  • 15 to 25 percent: 27%
  • 5 to 15 percent: 24%
  • Less than 5 percent: 20%
Look for the May issue of AB to find out how outfitting fitness areas that serve disabled populations is easier than you may think.
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