If you're reading this blog, then you're probably a health club owner and you probably know all about normal weight obesity. Just in case you need a refresher, though, normal weight obesity is a term used to describe how people can be a "normal" weight and still be obese. In other words, the number on the scale can tell you that you're healthy, and you can look thin, but you can still have a higher-than-healthy percentage of body fat.
"People don't have to be overweight to have excess body fat. Instead, these people have a higher ratio of fat to muscle tissue than do people with low body fat. Indeed, even people of the same weight, or those with comperable body body mass index, which factors together weight and height, can have different bodyfat percentages" (source: The Wall Street Journal 1-26-10).
For more information on normal weight obesity, click here to read a great article titled 'Skinny Fat People'.
All of that being said, did you know that this phenomenon of normal weight obesity can help you sell gym memberships? The potential market is huge, too. Cardiologist Francisco Lopez-Jiminez of the Mayo Clinic estimates that ".....as many as 30 million Americans may fall into the normal weight obesity category, many of them unaware they may by at increased heart risk" (source: The Wall Street Journal 1-26-10).
Think about it. That's 30 MILLION PEOPLE who NEED to exercise and don't know it.
If that doesn't make a gym owner excited, I don't know what will!
So how do you help people realize that they may suffer from normal weight obesity, and then how do you turn that knowledge into action?
Perhaps the best approach is to invite anyone and everyone into the health club for a FREE body fat assessment. A body fat analysis will show your percentage of body fat, and therefore show if you're a 'skinny fat' person. The average person on the street pays attention to their weight only, which does nothing to indicate their body fat content. By offering them a free body fat analysis, you're opening up a dialogue where you can educate them on normal weight obesity.
If you don't yet have a body fat analyzer, you should get one now. They're surprisingly affordable, and no gym should be without one. Here are a few reputable dealers:
Body Fat Analyzer
Omron Body Fat Analyzer
VitaMinder Fit & Healthy Body Fat Analyzer, 1-Unit
By inviting the public in for a free body fat analysis, you'll be helping them realize a hidden danger in their own body. Since high body fat has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome and a host of other health issues, the free test you're offering may even help some folks live longer!
Of course, once you've administered the body fat test and explained the results, you should also invite each person to become a member of your health club. You may want to offer a special promotional price, or give them a 7-day free trial membership just for coming in to take the body fat analysis.
However you decide to approach this issue of normal weight obesity, it is a topic that simply cannot be ignored by any health club owner. Too many people (30 million!) need your help understanding and dealing with normal weight obesity.
Should you decide to take our advice and start a 'Free Body Fat Analysis' promotion, don't forget to notify the media via a press release! Once you have the facts about normal weight obesity, the local newspaper may even interview you for a story. With a little luck, you could even get a local television personality to come down for a free body fat analysis! As always, in everything you do, you've got to be looking for ways to get some free publicity for your gym.
Now go out there and do what gym owners do best: educate, help people, and grow the business!