Health clubs teaming up to promote healthy lifestyle

BOSTON: About 1,600 health clubs planned to put aside their differences this week to promote healthy living - an effort that also brings together a motley array of companies, trade associations, and nonprofits.

BOSTON: About 1,600 health clubs planned to put aside their differences this week to promote healthy living - an effort that also brings together a motley array of companies, trade associations, and nonprofits.

About a third of the member clubs of the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) were planning to offer free admission to the public this week.

"Get Active America" required the joint efforts of "some of the fiercest competitors of any industry I've ever seen," said Drew McGowan, VP and account supervisor at Ketchum West, which is coordinating the PR work.

"We have never had 1,600-plus IHRSA members participate in a consumer-driven" campaign, said Bill Howland, director of PR and research at Boston-based IHRSA.

Industry sponsors joined the effort to link their products with healthy living.

The California Strawberry Commission, a trade association, used the event to focus for the first time on nutrition.

"It's really about putting a human face on the nutritional benefits of strawberries," said Tracie Simmons, VP and management supervisor for the strawberry commission.

Listerine PocketPaks was planning to distribute free samples of its products at health clubs, McGowan said.

And the American Cancer Society planned to distribute materials to educate the public on the link between cancer prevention and exercise.

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