Study Shows Health Benefits from Membership at a Medical Fitness Facility
The Medical Fitness Association is pleased to share that a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concludes that “membership at a medical fitness facility was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality and hospitalizations.”
Physical inactivity is a known risk factor for mortality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about half of the population in the United States achieves the recommended level of physical activity. The economic burden of physical inactivity is approximately 27 billion dollars per year.
The study was conducted over a ten-year period from 2005 to 2015 with two certified medical fitness facilities, The Wellness Institute and Reh-Fit Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to look at the link between membership at a medical fitness facility and health outcomes. Both facilities are certified by the Medical Fitness Association.
The medical fitness model is designed to improve health status by providing evidence-based, medically integrated programming to promote health. Unlike traditional fitness facilities, this model incorporates medical oversight; clinical integration with a health system; a higher level of staff education and training; health assessments; and health education.
Researchers were permitted to access over 500,000 deidentified provincial health records to use as the control group. The intervention group included over 19,000 members of The Wellness Institute and Reh-Fit Centre medical fitness facilities combined.
The study showed that:
• Medical fitness facility members had a 60 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality during the first 651 days and 48 percent lower after 651 days.
• Membership was also associated with a 13 percent lower risk of hospitalizations.
• Medical fitness members who attended more frequently (3 or more visits per week), the hospitalization rate was even lower.
“We are pleased to see the validation of what we have seen in the growing medical fitness industry,” said David Flench, CEO of the Medical Fitness Association. He added that certified medical fitness facilities provide a safe environment for older adults and those facing chronic diseases, while still serving the overall community for their health and wellness needs. “Medical fitness is defining the future of the fitness industry,” said Flench. “Over the past few years, we have seen an influx of commercial fitness facilities that are incorporating medical oversight and a broader offering of health and wellness services. As we now know, the benefit to members is significant.”
About the Study
This study was supported by Seven Oaks General Hospital Foundation, Chronic Disease Innovation Centre, Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, University of Manitoba, Research Manitoba and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
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