Houston and Chicago probably aren't proud of their expanding waistlines, but what's a fat city to do? Omron, makers of heart-rate and blood pressure monitors, and Men's Fitness Magazine are planning to give them â€“ and other â€œfatâ€ cities -- the kick-start to fitness with information, tools, fun, and athletic gear at a series of festival-like events nationwide.
The two companies, along with footwear and apparel sponsor New Balance, will try to bring fitness directly to the people with its Fittest Cities Project â€“ aimed at the fattest cities, as reported by Men's Fitness.
For the past five years, the men's magazine has reported annually on locales it dubs the "fattest" and "fittest" cities in America, based on data such as numbers of fast-food restaurants or parks. With the Fittest Cities Project, it will do more than just point fingers; it will work to help residents in those fat-prone areas successfully slim their waistlines and gain fitness and health. Its research found the U.S. population "is working harder but not working out, and eating faster but not eating better.â€ Nationally, studies show that about two of three Americans are overweight."
"In our discussions, it's become readily apparent that Omron and Men's Fitness share a unified vision for improving the quality of life for millions of Americans challenged by an ever-growing waist-line," said Jerry Kindela, editor in chief of men's Fitness Magazine.
New Balance's Amy Vreeland told SNEWS, "The Fittest Cities Initiative offers us an opportunity to promote healthy living and highlight our high performance cross-training footwear and apparel. New Balance has also recently kicked off our 'N is for Fit' corporate advertising campaign, so there is great synergy with our brand message and the Fittest Cities program."
The fitness outreach program -- headed for 12 U.S. cities including Miami; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Cincinnati; Chicago and San Francisco -- is intended to encourage people to become aware of their health and fitness. Event organizers said they hope to create a festival-like atmosphere with booths housing various testing areas where people can have their body composition measured, blood pressure checked, using body fat analyzers and blood pressure monitors supplied by Omron. They also plan to have seminars on topics such as healthy eating, and have information for the asking on exercise and nutrition.
Kicking off in June, the events will take place at highly trafficked public settings like D.C.'s Union Station and Chicago's Navy Pier so they can reach the average public, rather than just those already interested in fitness.
"We're after average baby boomers who are getting up there in age and have discovered their metabolism is slowing down and they just need some help getting started," David Fahrner, general manager of marketing for Omron, told SNEWS.
"We have a line of products specifically targeted to help people become healthy, to begin to lead a healthy lifestyle. (We want show people) there's an easy way to get into this whole thing of getting fit and getting healthy that's as simple as putting on a pedometer and walking," Fahrner said. "Part of Omron's philosophy has always been that we should be socially responsible and help people. The Fittest Cities Project fits in with that."
For updates on the project, check out www.fittestcities.com.