The fitness business Featured

11:59am EDT March 11, 2004
Last month, amidst the launch of election season and the true start of political infighting, restaurant giant McDonald's announced to little fanfare that it was eliminating its super-sized french fries and soft drinks.

While the McDonald's spin doctors said the reason for the move was "menu simplification," it's easy to speculate that the real reason for the change is the growing media attention on reports that our citizens --and specifically, American children -- rank among the fattest in the world.

Contrary to McDonald's suspended belief in how things occur, the sudden disappearance of super-sized French fries isn't going to solve the nation's obesity problem. In fact, eating smaller orders of fries and drinking smaller Cokes are about as likely to solve the problem of obesity and promote healthy living as diets fads such as Atkins, South Beach or The Zone are to eliminate the growing epidemic.

So it's time to consider something radical -- such as a genuinely healthier diet and, God forbid, some good old-fashioned exercise.

People are busier these days trying to make a living -- especially executives. But with the health problems associated with obesity, it's not going to take long before the trade-off for one's valuable time becomes akin to something of a gamble with one's life. And what CEO is willing to bet on that type of business proposition?

Love them or hate them, the fitness-related infomercials you see on television in growing numbers do promote healthier lifestyles. And, as you'll read in this month's cover story, Canton-based Fitness Quest has made a mint by being on the forefront of this industry.

Not only has CEO Robert Schnabel innovated with regard to celebrity endorsements, product development and multiple channel marketing, his products require that the users actually break a sweat in order to achieve the desired results.

Think about that the next time you're adding an extra beef patty to that double cheeseburger with everything ... and then and ordering a diet soda to go with it.