Medical fitness centers are defining the future of professionally administered health and fitness services to an aging population and improving outcomes for patients with chronic diseases and multiple risk factors. Leaders in the medical fitness industry believe that the future of hospitals and health-care organizations is in improving the health status of the communities that they serve. Notable growth and success throughout this industry is becoming more prevalent each year. Based upon information obtained through industry surveys, the number has grown from 79 centers in 1985 to 715 in 2004. The number of members served has grown to almost 2 million and is projected to reach more than 3 million by 2010.
The Medical Fitness Association (MFA), a nonprofit organization headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, was formed in 1991 to help medical fitness centers achieve their full potential. It is a professional membership organization whose mission is to determine and respond to the needs of centers that are owned, sponsored, or operated by hospitals and physician groups throughout the world. As a resource to the medical fitness industry, MFA is 100% focused upon medical fitness and is the first association to focus exclusively upon hospital fitness and wellness. MFA, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association, has a core mission of shaping and fostering the growth of the medical fitness industry.
The key priorities of MFA are to educate and support its members through benchmarking surveys, conferences, and meetings and to develop partnerships and affiliations with like-minded organizations to provide state-of-the-art programs and services for health and wellness professionals and the public.
In February, ACSM and MFA entered into a strategic alliance to enhance member benefits of both organizations and to strengthen the health/fitness industry. With this partnership, each organization will maintain a presence at major educational events including ACSM's Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition and the MFA Annual Conference, held in conjunction with Athletic Business. Additionally, this year the West Regional Chapter of MFA hosted its annual meeting in conjunction with ACSM's Summit. ACSM will assist MFA in identifying speakers and presenters for the MFA conferences, and MFA will assist ACSM in providing sites for clinically based exams. Furthermore, representatives from ACSM and MFA will participate on pertinent committees facilitated by the other organization.
In April, MFA held the first annual Medical Fitness Week. The event was celebrated by medical centers across the country with a variety of activities including early detection health screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, and osteoporosis. Free community health-related lectures on topics such as nutrition, fibromyalgia, and heart disease also were offered. MFA will hold the second annual Medical Fitness Week April 24-28, 2006. Its future plans include publishing MFA's Facility Standards & Guidelines, which will represent a set of nationally derived standards applicable to the design and operation of a medical fitness facility, which will serve as a resource to managers and directors at these facilities. Additionally, this document will establish standards for facility program recognition. MFA also plans to continue its regional development and is considering publishing a resource journal for the industry in 2006.
ACSM is firmly committed to the value of partnerships and collaborations with organizations that share a similar mission. Members of ACSM represent the breadth and depth of professionals contributing to sports medicine, exercise science, and health and fitness. Within these areas, professionals direct and work in medical fitness facilities across the United States. ACSM recognizes the unique attributes medically based fitness centers provide and is pleased to be partnering with MFA.
To learn more about MFA contact: Cary Wing, Ed.D. Executive Director Medical Fitness Association P.O. Box 73103 Richmond, VA 23235-9026 Phone: 804-327-0330 Fax: 804-327-1630 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: www.medicalfitness.org