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Colorado Curves® franchise owner Carole Bergeman is forging into new territory. Two years ago, after updating her exercise equipment, Bergeman was unsure what to do with the older machines. A friend’s daughter suggested she donate them to a local women’s correctional facility, and the Canon City prison fitness program was born.

The program offers a true incentive for its 135 participants, who are denied access if they break prison rules. This is the first prison project of its kind, and according to Jim Abbot, facility warden, it has been tremendously successful. “It makes [the women] feel and look better, and when that happens, they are better inmates,” he says. Bergeman also offers an “after-care” program that waives initiation fees for “graduates” of the Canon City program upon release from prison. Other Curves franchisees in the area have extended the same offer.

Americans aren’t the only population with a serious weight problem. According to an editorial in the August issue of the British Medical Journal, the Chinese are becoming overweight and obese at an alarmingly fast rate. A 2002 national nutrition and health survey showed that 14.7% of people in China were overweight and another 2.6% were obese, which translates to about 184 million overweight and 31 million obese. Data also showed that the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children ages 7–18 increased 28 times between 1985 and 2000 and obesity increased four times. Professor Yangfeng Wu from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences in Beijing attributed these developments to a combination of factors, including changes to traditional diet and reduced levels of physical activity.

Source: FortWayne.com, The News-Sentinel,

“Fitness program helps female prisoners develop body, mind and spirit,” by Carol McGraw.

Joy Keller

Joy Keller is executive editor of IDEA Fitness Journal and IDEA Fit Business Success, and is also a certified personal trainer, indoor cycling instructor, yoga teacher (RYT 200) and Reiki Master.

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