With IHRSA Promoting Primary Prevention In Washington D.C.

Three years of my life were spent in the Washington D.C. suburbs growing up. I love Washington, D.C., so it was great to be there last week during IHRSA's 9th Annual Summit For A Healthier America.

I visited the offices of four Senators and two Congressional leaders in the House around IHRSA's legislative agenda. Speaking with aides and leaders themselves is interesting. Its almost unbelievable that the notion of primary prevention has not been more central to the recently passed Affordable Care Act ; there isn't a single mention of primary prevention in the legislation . What a shame. The fitness industry has got to become a more integral part of the solution to the sick care crisis.

Sharing time with the IHRSA staff behind the lobbying effort as well as industry leaders like Michael Raymond of Curves, Art Curtis of Millennium Partners, and Karen Jashinsky of O2 Max, among many others, is always fun and enlightening.

Get involved in the IHRSA public policy movement.  Learn more here. We need your help. Check out the video from the event as well. You might find it interesting and amusing. So what do you think about IHRSA and its public policy initiatives ? Write me, Bryan O'Rourke, and share your views. Could we be doing more and how ?


Zeitgeist - Thinking Of The Future Of Your Business & Your Life

When I talk about a revolution happening in all businesses, industries, institutions, governments and people's lives, I really mean it. This is particularly true for the fitness and health club industry. Hearing from great thought leaders is inspiring because it reassures me that I might not be totally nuts, although I get that deer in the headlight look sometimes from people. That is why I am excited about the upcoming annual Zeitgeist event.

On May 15, 2011, the Zeitgiest Partner Forum will again be on in London. Zeitgeist is Google’s annual event held just outside London, currently in its 6th year, bringing together around 400 business and thought leaders from across Europe. Watch Don Tapscott discuss the revolution during last years event. Facts are our institutions are broken and they require completely new ways of thinking to completely replace their old methodologies. Its worth the 20 minutes I promise you. After you watch it tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what do you think ? Are you reinventing your industry, organization or life around the rapid change that is occurring now and which will only accelerate ?



IHRSA Chairperson Calls Upon Health Club Leadership

On my flight to San Francisco today I cracked open the September 2010 Club Business International, where I ran across Art Curtis' article "A Culture of Healthy Behaviors" on page 85. Art is the Chairperson of IHRSA, which represents the global health club industry. Here is an excerpt:

Like many of you, I was excited by the possibility that our national leaders might be able to work together to produce genuine healthcare reform. And, like most of you, I was extremelt disappointed when the resulting legislation dealt more with reforming health insurance than improving the nation's well-being.

Of course Art's right and I've written extensively on the topic he raises (see for example Private Insurance, Health Care & Corruption, and Why Wellness Takes a Back Seat in the Reform Debate). The bottom line behind why policy is NOT embracing the obvious wellness solution is that there isn't a wellness "dog" in the policy fight.

To combat the challenge, Art calls for the leaders of the fitness industry to launch a comprehensive campaign that will improve our nation's health through positive personal behaviors and working closely with important stakeholders like government agencies, educators, the medical community and others. Its a good idea and to those that might read Art's writing I'd ask what I think is the most important question - how do you really think this can best be done ?

Looking forward to your comments and thanks Art for keeping your eye on the ball.

Our Legal System is Killing Progress - Here Are 4 Fixes

Most people will tell you based on routine life experiences that our legal system is out of control. The land of the free has become a legal minefield particularly for teachers and doctors, whose work has been paralyzed by fear of suits. What's the answer? Lawyer Philip K. Howard shares his 4 basic ideas to fix what's broken.

Philip Howard is the founder of Common Good, a drive to overhaul the US legal system. His new book is Life Without Lawyers. Full bio and more links

The BP Disaster and You

I was reading the WSJ again today and came across an Op-Ed by Holman Jenkins, Jr. titled "Obama vs. BP and You". Mr. Jenkins is a smart man, no doubt. However, his editorial really misses the most relevant point around the BP disaster: how duplicitous and irresponsible many of the American PEOPLE are because their behavior is a significant contributor to disasters like the current BP situation in the Gulf.

Before I continue, you should know, I live in Louisiana. My uncles and relatives make a living from the oil and gas industry and from the seafood industry. Point is the situation is disturbing and I believe that my friend Mr. Jenkins and many others should start spending less time blaming others and more time taking responsibility.

Now obviously BP's hands are dirty here. They demonstrated some pretty irresponsible behavior. However, when you are drilling for oil a mile under the ocean, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That the disaster is a surprise is a joke and I don't recall folks failing to fill up their tanks given concerns before the crisis unfolded. There weren't any, so long as oil remained relatively cheap.

Holman in his Op-Ed, like many commentators today, fails to address the most pertient issue : the BP disaster and the public's response is a reflection of our hypocritical culture. As a nation we cannot on the one hand bemoan our political leadership, whom we elected, and cry foul to BP either for their conduct, while we turn the thermostat down to a more comfortable 74 degrees. You can't have your cake and eat it too and that is the trouble today. Most American's are driving around in their SUV's while being "concerned" about the ecology. Give me a break - and Mr. Jenkins your editorial doesn't help folks realize their culpability when you attempt to paint Obama as being the culpret against poor BP and us. Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Little effort has been made to do anything about curbing consumption of power based on fossil fuels, despite all of the obvious consequences. Somehow people cannot connect the dots between their personal choices and outcomes and commentators like Mr. Jenkins don't help the matter, when he writes:

"A policeman kicks out your taillight and then writes you a ticket for a faulty taillight. A president announces a moratorium on offshore drilling as a sop to a section of his public that always opposes drilling, and to be seen "doing something." Then he turns around and demands that BP compensate those injured by the president's own careless action. Mr. Obama may not quite have committed the miracle of converting Tony Hayward into a sympathetic character, but voters who aren't keen on higher energy prices should be watching closely. Their taillight is ripe to be kicked out next."

Holman, come on man ! That is the analogy you chose ? It would be more appropriate to point out that the driver is kicking their own taillights out, not some third party cop. I suppose when the next ecological crisis happens you'll blame that one on our failure to keep up the "war on terror."

Wether you are a fan of President Obama or not perhaps if policies created higher energy prices people would start to use less fossil fuels and things like the BP disaster would be much less likely to occur. Has anyone thought about that ?