Health clubs have to hustle

The health club industry is a $10.6 billion business in the United States. There are 15,125 clubs today, more than double the numbers from 1982. Almost 30 million people have memberships. Illinois alone has about 600 fitness facilities. Despite the increase in health clubs, Americans continue to grow fatter each year. The percentage of obese Americans has increased from 12 percent in 1991 to 17.9 percent in 1998, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These statistics mirror Illinois’ figures. And a study by Men’s Fitness magazine ranked Chicago the sixth-fattest city in the nation.