Fitness: Did you hear?...

Star Trac promotes three employees, Fitness Master wins award at Taispo trade show, American Heart Association reports that affluent are getting fat too, Nike ditches Sears in fear of merge with Kmart, plus much more...
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>> Star Trac has promoted three employees: Terry Woods is now director of product management (formerly senior product developer); Randy Bergstedt, formerly director of marketing, is now vice president of global marketing; and Paul Ireland is now vice president of North American sales. In addition, Star Trac has hired a new European marketing director. Darryl Vides started the day before the IHRSA show and has been on the road nearly non-stop since then, getting to meetings in Finland, Russia, Italy, The Netherlands and the Czech Republic, as well as to the FIBO show in Germany.

>> TAIWAN -- At the recent Taispo trade show in Taiwan, Fitness Master won one of three awards for fitness equipment given by the show organizing group, Taiwan Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. In the elliptical category, Fitness Master's Joong Chenn Industry Co. Ltd took the prize for its Fitnex E70. The judges said they chose the product because it had a simple and pleasing arc design instead of more traditional angles, used pearlized silver paint on shrouds, it had an easy-to-operate console with large and bright buttons, its ergonomics followed a user's motion, and it had a bigger steel frame to promote stability. Other winners included a treadmill, also by Joong Chenn, called the Steelflex XT7600, which the judges said had a pioneering one-touch operation. That brand is Joong Chen's international brand. The third winner was a bike called the MAG 5200 by Tonic Fitness Technology. For background, in 2004, Tonic won for its True 400 HRC treadmill and Johnson for its Newjet 6000 treadmill. The association said the awards are designed to stimulate better R&D and spur innovation in equipment.
Click here to see photos of all three winners.

>> GERMANY -- In other awards, there was one fitness winner among the winners of the 12th ispo BrandNew awards for new companies. A German company called Handytrim (www.handytrim.de) won for its upper-body toner. The Handytrim is about the size of a slim yo-yo and uses a resistance cord that unfurls from the inside to pull on and tone various upper-body muscles. Among the eight additional awards was one from Australia (soccer training), one from Denmark (bike accessories), three others from Germany (cycling apparel, surf lounger and bike hardware), one from the USA (wakeboarding gear), one from Finland (swim distance tracker), and one from Russia (apparel). There were about 130 applicants from 19 countries for this summer's awards. Winners earn a free booth at the ispo show in Munich, Germany, and a lot of exposure internationally to media and distributors. For more on the current winners or to get information about upcoming award applications for the winter 2005 ispo show, go to www.ispo-brandnew.com.

>> As a kickoff for the month of May (National Physical Fitness and Sports Month), the government President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports held another Healthier US Fitness Festival on May 2 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. -- a free public celebration with sports and dance demos, health information and screenings, fitness tips and demos, and talks by athlete celebrities. Speakers included Lynn Swann, television sportscaster/NFL Hall of Fame member, and Denise Austin, health and fitness leader/television personality. More than 80 sports and fitness organizations setup booths or gave demos. Those participating included the Outdoor Industry Foundation (www.outdoorindustry.org) as well as the SGMA (www.sgma.com). More at www.fitness.gov.

>> According to recent research presented at the American Heart Association science research meeting, the affluent -- in the past, less likely to be fat or obese than the poor -- are catching up with the poor, who have historically had higher rates of obesity and ill health. "This is a very surprising finding," Jennifer Robinson, of the University of Iowa, whose study was presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association, told the Associated Press. But it "underlines the whole complexity" of the obesity epidemic, she added. "Affluent" is defined as those making more than $60,000 a year. The difference has been because fresh foods and produce tend to cost more and be less available in lower-income and urban areas, where fast food and other high-fat choices are easier to find. The data was culled from decades of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), a government database. According to the data, in the early 1970s, 22.5 percent of people with incomes below $25,000 were obese. By 2002, 32.5 percent of the poor were. Just 9.7 percent of people with incomes above $60,000 were obese in the 1970s -- a figure that jumped to 26.8 percent in 2002. All income was adjusted to reflect year 2000 dollars.

>> The Yoga Journal (www.YogaJournal.com) has won its third consecutive Maggie Award for "Best Health and Fitness" Magazine. The awards, given by the Western Publications Association, reflect excellence in magazine and electronic publishing in the Western United States. "We are honored that the Western Publications Association has named Yoga Journal 'Best Health and Fitness Magazine' three years in a row," said Kathryn Arnold, editorial director of Yoga Journal. "Our mission is not only to show readers how they can improve their health and well-being with yoga, but also to inspire them to bring yoga into all aspects of their lives -- their work, home life, relationships, and more. We're delighted that the Western Publications Association has recognized this achievement."

>> Allegedly to reassure the Nike swooshed footwear doesn't end up on Kmart shelves, Nike has pulled its footwear from Sears. Nike attributed the yanking of its product, at Sears since early 2000, to "the regular course of brand management," according to a company spokeswoman. The company has declined to confirm the move, effective as of October 2005, was due to concerns that the new Sears Holdings Corp. might sell the brand in its Kmart discount division as well. Nike has been known to be extremely protective of its image and distribution. Meanwhile, Sears will continue to carry brands such as New Balance, adidas and Skechers. Discounter Kmart recently bought Sears in a $12.3 billion deal that created the third-largest U.S. retailer, Sears Holdings Corp.

>> CANADA -- Canadian Business magazine has selected Good Life Club owner David Patchell-Evans as Canada's "move innovative" executive. Patchell-Evans, on the cover of the issue dated April 25-May 8, operates 101 Good Life Clubs with 250,000 members with a staff of 3,300 and revenues of $100 million (approximately USD $80.3 million). He has said he plans to open 30 new clubs in the coming year with the objective of operating 200 facilities by 2009. http://www.canadianbusiness.com/

>> The California Physical Therapy Association has begun a statewide campaign called "Move California" to promote active, healthy lifestyles in the Golden State. The program is intended to educate and motivate Californians about the critical need for a vigorous, hearty lifestyle and the fundamental role that physical therapists play in helping people to attain and sustain such a lifestyle. "People don't stop moving because they grow old," said Dr. Patricia Evans, a physical therapist and CEO of CPTA. "People grow old because they stop moving. As we grow older, we have a tendency to stop or cut back on our exercise, and that is precisely when we need to continue it." Move California includes several public components, including educational elements and literature, as well as statewide and regional outreach campaigns. Currently, Move California includes two educational modules, which are supported by PowerPoint presentations, fact sheets, advertisements and literature: "Backpack Safety for Kids" and "Fall Prevention for the Aging Population." The next module will be centered on childhood obesity.

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