Metabolic Syndrome a Corporate Quagmire

by Ryan Halvorson on Feb 02, 2009

Making News

Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms that places people at increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, states information on the American Heart Association Web page (; retrieved Nov. 11, 2008).

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (October 2008; 50 [10], 1139–48), nearly one-quarter of the U.S. work force has the condition. Researchers analyzed health risk data of 5,512 employees of a large financial services corporation and discovered that 22.6% had metabolic syndrome. Further, the more risk factors a person had (large waist circumference, high blood pressure, high glucose levels, etc.), the more likely he or she was to call in sick. Not only does this prove a dire situation for the health of the U.S. work force, but it also increases the financial burden of employers—and can mean big opportunity for creative, enterprising fitness professionals. “Since full-time workers spend at least 75% of their waking hours at work, and since a healthy worker costs less and is more productive, workplace health initiatives are a win-win situation for both employer and employee,” states Ingrid Knight-Cohee, MSc, IDEA presenter and acting director of health and fitness at YWCA Vancouver. If you’ve been thinking of breaking into the corporate fitness/wellness market, implement these suggestions, courtesy of Knight-Cohee:

  • Let current clients know you’re keen to offer services to their workplace.

  • Seek out corporate fitness facilities and propose a training arrangement. For example, offer to teach three indoor cycling classes per week in exchange for facility usage to train clients for a prescribed number of hours per week.

  • Deliver stretch breaks for staff meetings.

  • Provide a Web-based desk-stretch sequence and/or “fit tips” via the company website or e-newsletter.

  • Be polished and professional, and appreciate the challenges of corporate clientele specific to the occupation or industry.

Want to learn more? Check out the following resources:

  • “Corporate Wellness—Programming for Profit,” May 2008 IDEA Fitness Journal.

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About the Author

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson IDEA Author/Presenter

Ryan Halvorson is the chief content officer for Fit Scribe Media (; contributing editor for IDEA Health & Fitness Association; director of group training at Bird Rock Fit in La Jolla, CA; a Master Instructor for Metabolic Effect and the creator of, a lifestyle organization dedicated to finding ways to achieve improved fitness, nutrition and healthy living habits in 30 minutes or less. He is an internationally recognized speaker and has written for publications such as DETAILS and GQ.