A Common Sense Solution to Rising Health Care Costs

outdoor gym seniors fitness park A Common Sense Solution to Rising Health Care Costs

(Nick Ray / The Times)

Around the world, health care costs are going up and up. And with the massive baby boomer population bulge entering their senior years, some governments / businesses / insurance companies are looking for new & creative ways to reduce health care costs.

One of those creative solutions is the construction of public (free) fitness parks (playgrounds) aimed at adults. In England, a new Senior Playground has recently been built by a coalition of community activists (Knightsbridge association) and two levels of government agencies.

And this isn’t England’s first “senior playground”. They are popping up all over the country.

And England certainly isn’t the first country to take this sort of initiative. Parks such as these can be found throughout China, Hong Kong, Macau, Korea…

china exercise park A Common Sense Solution to Rising Health Care Costs

Credit: Christopher Wanjek

And yet, in my home country of Canada, all three levels of government ignore initiatives such as this in favor of spending millions on marketing campaigns urging Canadians to exercise more and billions on treating lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Instead of giving Participaction $3,000,000 per year for a website and some online commercials…

…they could build 50 fitness parks per year.

Or, if they were really serious, they could siphon off 1/1000th of the approx. $183 billion (2009) spent nationally on health care and build 3,050 new fitness parks per year.

($183 B ÷1000 ÷$60,000 per park = 3050 new fit parks)

And who knows, maybe the cost of the new fit parks will actually result in a net savings for government as the costs associated with obesity and related lifestyle diseases decrease.

As your Grandma used to say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.

9 Comments

  1. Abcabccom

    January 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Sorry could never happen in the USA. To many laywers…

  2. Mary-Jo

    March 31, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Time and again, it has been shown that recommendations simply don’t work! Especially in an environment that makes it easier and screams to DO the opposite. All those websites, bad commercials, and recommendations do is to give huge support the facade that something is being done and/or we are succeeding to reverse all the unhealthy trends. Bah!

    • healthhabits

      March 31, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      @MJ – I agree. There are better ways to spend the $$$ – like actual fitness facilities.

      One area of advertising that I would be curious to see pursued is to use our obsession with celebrity to promote exercise & healthy eating.

      How many people would pay attention to extended commercials (say 2 min) or Matthew McConaughey or JLo exercising or promoting healthy meals. Not an education…just pure celebrity brain-washing

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  5. Shari

    May 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

    “Instead of giving Participaction $3,000,000 per year for a website and some bad commercials”
    Ha ha, so true. Just imagine how many lives we could change as personal trainers with a $3 million dollar budget. That is over 40, 000 one-on-one training sessions we could deliver. That would change a lot more lives.

  6. Bean

    May 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    There is at least one such park here in Dartmouth, NS. I have no idea who paid for it (city? citizens by fundraising?). “They” are talking about building others. It’s not quite as shiny as the one in the pic, but it’s the same idea. I thought it was kinda cool when I first saw it.

  7. Ebby

    May 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Wow, I would love to see that here in Edmonton, I wonder if it would be possible to start a petition for consideration? It shouldn’t be a big issue here as we (city of edmonton) just ordered up “singing recycling bins” and yes this is sarcasm… blargh.

  8. Fitness Philippines

    May 20, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Wow, those parks seem so awesome; I wish my country had them.