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Core Health & Fitness
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Editor’s letter: Moving away from BMI

New evidence is on its way that will show how risk of disease is impacted by specific distribution of fat in the body. This offers huge potential for the fitness sector to really prove its worth in transforming people’s health

Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 7
Imagine being able to map someone’s body, monitoring falling levels of fat and being able to give hard stats how this is reducing risk of disease

BMI is flawed as a way of assessing healthy weight. That’s the working assumption at the heart of a major new study of 100,000 Britons – a £43m imaging project being carried out by universities including Oxford, Edinburgh and Imperial College, as well as the Medical Research Council.

That assumption will surprise few in the fitness sector, which has long been aware of the limitations of BMI. As Tom Stillman, head of business development for Boditrax, summarises: “BMI has been enormously useful for population surveys, demonstrating the strong links between excess weight and chronic ill health, but it can be misleading on an individual basis. It doesn’t take into account variables such as age, race or natural changes in body composition over time. Neither does it reflect the fact that, if exercise is built into a weight loss programme, a greater proportion of body fat will be lost compared to weight loss through diet only.”

And so it was that, at a launch event for the new study, professor Paul Matthews of Imperial College London was able to present a slide that showed the scans of 60 people, all with a BMI of around 30. Among these allegedly unhealthy people were elite athletes as well as sedentary, genuinely overweight people; one of BMI’s many limitations is that it can’t differentiate between muscle, fat and bone, so even Olympic athletes can be classified as obese.

This in itself raises interesting questions and dilemmas – not least the fact that healthy people are already being turned down for things like health insurance based purely on their BMI. Gyms could feasibly even be contributing to the issue, helping people move out of the ‘healthy’ BMI category and into ‘overweight’ by training hard and building muscle mass. This would be a huge irony, given that these people will certainly be fitter, healthier and at lower risk of lifestyle disease as a result of being active. Meanwhile, people with high levels of dangerous visceral fat, at significant risk of lifestyle disease, are able to pass entirely under the BMI radar.

The new study will therefore be hugely valuable, both to individuals and to gyms wanting to prove their contribution to people’s health. By mapping subjects’ distribution of fat and muscle mass and overlaying this with data about lifestyle, genetics, blood sugar and cholesterol – as well as scanning brains, hearts, bones and carotid arteries – the study aims to link the distribution of excess fat, and especially abdominal fat, to risk of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. It will, believes Matthews, give a “completely new window” onto the body.

The next step will be for the fitness sector to start mapping the body composition of its members. The latest imaging technology will be beyond most operators’ budgets, but there’s already a range of affordable devices on the market that use bio-electrical impedance analysis (BIA) to estimate body composition, and in particular body fat – an instant way to focus members on a far more important indicator for their health than their BMI.

And in the longer term? As today’s technology becomes more affordable, and the findings of the imaging study start to filter through, it’s possible to foresee a day when clubs will prescribe wellbeing programmes based on scans. Imagine how powerful it would be to map someone’s body to create a personalised wellness prescription, monitoring falling levels of abdominal fat and being able to give hard stats on how this is reducing risk of disease.

Gyms have a huge opportunity to embrace this new approach, ensuring the fitness sector becomes the bridge that connects new thinking in science with the people who can most benefit from it.

Kate Cracknell, Editor

[email protected]

@healthclubkate

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2016_7eletter.jpg
We may soon be able to map the fat in people's bodies and link it to risk of disease
Kate Cracknell, Editor, Healthclub Management,BMI, fat, disease, mapping, Kate Cracknell, Paul Matthews, Imperial College, scan
People
I think the cost of financing the Fitness World deal was more than compensated for by the £20m Fitness World brought in while the UK gyms were closed
People
Our facility isn’t for everyone. In daring to be different, we’re attracting people willing to commit to a fresh way of approaching health and fitness
People
HCM people

Dr Darshan Shah

Next Health: co-founder
Our vision is that health is not the absence of disease but the abundance of vitality
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Our world has changed since March and together, we are learning and adapting to how this sector can continue to thrive in this COVID conscious world.
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features

Editor’s letter: Moving away from BMI

New evidence is on its way that will show how risk of disease is impacted by specific distribution of fat in the body. This offers huge potential for the fitness sector to really prove its worth in transforming people’s health

Published in Health Club Management 2016 issue 7
Imagine being able to map someone’s body, monitoring falling levels of fat and being able to give hard stats how this is reducing risk of disease

BMI is flawed as a way of assessing healthy weight. That’s the working assumption at the heart of a major new study of 100,000 Britons – a £43m imaging project being carried out by universities including Oxford, Edinburgh and Imperial College, as well as the Medical Research Council.

That assumption will surprise few in the fitness sector, which has long been aware of the limitations of BMI. As Tom Stillman, head of business development for Boditrax, summarises: “BMI has been enormously useful for population surveys, demonstrating the strong links between excess weight and chronic ill health, but it can be misleading on an individual basis. It doesn’t take into account variables such as age, race or natural changes in body composition over time. Neither does it reflect the fact that, if exercise is built into a weight loss programme, a greater proportion of body fat will be lost compared to weight loss through diet only.”

And so it was that, at a launch event for the new study, professor Paul Matthews of Imperial College London was able to present a slide that showed the scans of 60 people, all with a BMI of around 30. Among these allegedly unhealthy people were elite athletes as well as sedentary, genuinely overweight people; one of BMI’s many limitations is that it can’t differentiate between muscle, fat and bone, so even Olympic athletes can be classified as obese.

This in itself raises interesting questions and dilemmas – not least the fact that healthy people are already being turned down for things like health insurance based purely on their BMI. Gyms could feasibly even be contributing to the issue, helping people move out of the ‘healthy’ BMI category and into ‘overweight’ by training hard and building muscle mass. This would be a huge irony, given that these people will certainly be fitter, healthier and at lower risk of lifestyle disease as a result of being active. Meanwhile, people with high levels of dangerous visceral fat, at significant risk of lifestyle disease, are able to pass entirely under the BMI radar.

The new study will therefore be hugely valuable, both to individuals and to gyms wanting to prove their contribution to people’s health. By mapping subjects’ distribution of fat and muscle mass and overlaying this with data about lifestyle, genetics, blood sugar and cholesterol – as well as scanning brains, hearts, bones and carotid arteries – the study aims to link the distribution of excess fat, and especially abdominal fat, to risk of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. It will, believes Matthews, give a “completely new window” onto the body.

The next step will be for the fitness sector to start mapping the body composition of its members. The latest imaging technology will be beyond most operators’ budgets, but there’s already a range of affordable devices on the market that use bio-electrical impedance analysis (BIA) to estimate body composition, and in particular body fat – an instant way to focus members on a far more important indicator for their health than their BMI.

And in the longer term? As today’s technology becomes more affordable, and the findings of the imaging study start to filter through, it’s possible to foresee a day when clubs will prescribe wellbeing programmes based on scans. Imagine how powerful it would be to map someone’s body to create a personalised wellness prescription, monitoring falling levels of abdominal fat and being able to give hard stats on how this is reducing risk of disease.

Gyms have a huge opportunity to embrace this new approach, ensuring the fitness sector becomes the bridge that connects new thinking in science with the people who can most benefit from it.

Kate Cracknell, Editor

[email protected]

@healthclubkate

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2016_7eletter.jpg
We may soon be able to map the fat in people's bodies and link it to risk of disease
Kate Cracknell, Editor, Healthclub Management,BMI, fat, disease, mapping, Kate Cracknell, Paul Matthews, Imperial College, scan
Latest News
Mid Ulster District Council (MUDC) in Northern Ireland has won a landmark VAT case, which ...
Latest News
The government has pledged to invest £100m in supporting public leisure centres this winter, as ...
Latest News
Gyms in Liverpool,UK, have been given the go-ahead to reopen, following a dramatic week of ...
Latest News
Be Military Fit (BMF) has completed a restructuring project, designed to transform the outdoor fitness ...
Latest News
Rod Hill, former president of TRIB3 and director general of Anytime Fitness Iberia, has signed ...
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Persistent and rising levels of lifestyle disease across the world have exacerbated the effects of ...
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Opinion
promotion
Our world has changed since March and together, we are learning and adapting to how this sector can continue to thrive in this COVID conscious world.
Opinion: Why fitness clubs and facilities need to evolve in a COVID-conscious world
Opinion
promotion
In a post-Covid world, member experience is more important than ever before. Your customers’ expectations have been heightened as the coronavirus continues to dominate our everyday lives.
Opinion: Why member experience is more important now than ever before
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Gympass sees success after pivoting to digital
As the COVID-19 lockdown forced the temporary closure of businesses across the country, the outlook for companies supplying services to corporate partners looked precarious.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Matrix takes its partnership with Renault Sport racing team up a gear
Matrix Fitness, the commercial brand of Johnson Health Tech, has announced the renewal of its long term partnership with the Renault F1 Team.
Video Gallery
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment
Core Health & Fitness
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: BLK BOX
The BLK BOX product range is built for athletes by athletes, includes modular storage systems, ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Core Health & Fitness
Core Health & Fitness is more than gym equipment, we offer innovative solutions for all ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Fitness Software
FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Software
Volution.fit: Software
Design consultants
Zynk Design Consultants: Design consultants
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
12 Nov 2020
Virtual, United States
Diary dates
17 Nov 2020
Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-03 Dec 2020
Virtual,
Diary dates
08-09 Dec 2020
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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