Help your community make choices that will have a positive impact on their well-being.
By Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS
Welcome to the start of June when many families prepare to take their summer vacations. How can your practice guide your community members to make good choices that will have a positive impact on their well-being? June is also Men’s Health Month, and with Father’s Day approaching, the committee will highlight several organizations and activities that will help your current and potential clients understand the value that you provide in your community.
Fit Family Vacations!
Summer is a great time for the whole family to get fit. Physical therapists (PTs) know how important physical activity is for individuals of all ages. Obesity epidemic statistics are well publicized. Making the public aware that PTs have the expertise to battle this problem should be an ongoing endeavor. Physical activity can help many chronic health issues currently impacting quality of life and health care costs. As June approaches, providing information about active vacations is an excellent way to show your community that you take an active role in overall wellness.
First, the Facts
Impact recently published the facts about obesity: The financial, physical, and emotional costs of childhood obesity are overwhelming. The Centers for Disease Control report that obesity affects 17 percent of our nation’s youth.1 Just in case anyone wonders if this is a significant problem, consider the following:
- Childhood obesity alone is estimated to cost $14 billion annually in direct health expenses.1
- An obese teenager has up to an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult.1
- Overweight and obesity are responsible for a 60 percent increased risk for a new diagnosis of asthma in adolescents.1
- Children between the ages of 8 to 18 on average spend more than six hours a day watching televison, playing video games, or using other media.1
Adults are struggling as well. Consider the following statistics:
- Less than half (48 percent) of all adults meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines.2
- Men (52.1 percent) are more likely than women (42.6 percent) to meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guideline for aerobic activity.2
- Inactive adults have a higher risk for early death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.2
So, with summer on its way, what are some options in your neck of the woods? Check with your local chamber of commerce or town recreation department. Many of these groups will have lists of activities that are available in your area.
Healthline.com offers some great options and does an excellent job breaking them down by intensity categories:3
Lower Level Intensity
- Walking or walking tour
- Water park
Moderate Level Intensity
- Hiking or hiking tour
- Kayaking or canoeing
- Running event, such as a family 5K
- Paddle boarding
- Water skiing
High Level Intensity
- Running a marathon
- Bicycling race
- Mountain biking
- Rock climbing
- White water rafting3
Another option for the active family is to train and compete in one of the group events such as the Tough Mudder or Spartan Race. Designing an entire vacation around this type of event could make for awesome family memories!
Do not forget to comb your community for local ideas. Are any of the area health clubs running family friendly events? Frequently, YMCA will have programs that may appeal to the entire family.
Finally, if you can’t join ’em, create ’em! What type of event can you put together that combines fun and fitness? Our company has held events called the Power of Play, where participants are grouped and perform and compete at various stations. The goal is to learn new activities and movement patterns while discovering the fun in fitness!
Happy (Healthy) Father’s Day
Father’s Day is a time to celebrate the dads in our lives. It is also a time to remind people of the common health problems that many fathers may face and provide opportunities to learn and participate in activities that will keep them enjoying their families for years to come!
Men’s Health Week is celebrated each year as the week leading up to and including Father’s Day. This year, the dates are June 9 through June 15. The purpose of Men’s Health Week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Menshealthmonth.org provides a multitude of information and resources that will educate individuals on common health concerns, as well provide options to improve one’s health.4
We know some men are not great at taking care of themselves. The Men’s Health Network provides a maintenance schedule for men that can be printed and distributed in your clinic.4 The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides a list of preventative tests along with guidelines for frequency.5 Some of these include:
- Body mass index
- Colorectal cancer
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
The CDC also offers great advice for Men’s Health Week that can be passed on to your community.5 Some of their suggestions for improving men’s health include:
- Get good sleep
- Toss out the tobacco
- Move more
- Eat healthy
- Tame stress
Look for ways to engage your community:
- Plan a health fair. Bring together health professionals in your area to provide a day of health for the men in your community.
- Provide a seminar at a local health club on healthy exercise and how to avoid common injuries.
- Promote prostate cancer awareness with a blue campaign.
- Write an article for the local paper congratulating one of your clients (with their permission) on achieving better health.
These are just a few ideas, but we hope that they will spark your interest and provide a framework to engage your community. The marketing and PR committee would like to be the first to offer our paternal readers a Happy Father’s Day. When raising a family gets tough, remember this sage advice from Charles Wadsworth: “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” Happy marketing and public relations!
Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS, is chair of the marketing and PR committee and co-owner of Olympic Physical Therapy with five locations in Rhode Island. He can be reached at email@example.com.
1. Childhood obesity in the United States. NCCOR Website. http://www.nccor.org/downloads/ChildhoodObesity_020509.pdf. Accessed March 2014.
2. CDC. Facts about physical activity. CDC Website. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/data/facts.html. Accessed March 2014.
3. Healthline. The fit family vacation. Healthline Website. http://www.healthline.com/health/fit-family-vacation. Published May 6, 2013. Accessed March 2014.
4. Men’s health month. Want some interesting and fun things to do during men’s health month? Men’s Health Month Website. http://www.menshealthmonth.org/thingstodo.html. Accessed March 2014.
5. National men’s health week. CDC Web site. http://www.cdc.gov/men/nmhw/. Updated June 6, 2013. Accessed March 2014.