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Just Say No To Bullies

A recent study found that obese kids are more likely to be bullied than thin kids, regardless of their gender, race, socioeconomic status, social skills or academic achievement. And past studies found that obese kids who are bullied are more susceptible to depression, anxiety and loneliness. That's really sad, especially since it's mostly preventable.

How are overweight kids treated at your club? Or overweight adults for that matter? Does your club's staff go out of their way to help obese patrons navigate the gym floor and use machines correctly, or does your staff stand back and snicker when these folks don't understand how to use equipment properly? If it's the latter, then you're part of the problem instead of being part of the solution.

These days most Americans are considered obese. Even the military is recognizing that sedentary young people make recruiting a challenge. There's a huge untapped market for health clubs, but is your club courting it or driving it away?

Do you have targeted programs to get kids in your club and exercising? Many schools have dropped gym classes because of budget cuts. That means there's a real need for fitness education to teach kids why it's important to be active. The same goes for nutrition. Even when I was in school, we weren't taught much about how to eat right.

Design a children's program that combines fitness and nutritional education, market it right to schools and community groups, and I bet you'd have a winning profit center on your hands—one that helps keep kids from getting bullied and pumps up your bottom line. Talk about a win-win situation!

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