There’s no getting away from it. The word ‘obesity’ is being tossed around more and more these days in the media. Whether they’re breaking down the numbers by age, race, gender, or region—there’s no escaping the reports that America is slowly losing the weight gain battle.

A recent report released at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Weight of the Nation Conference in Washington, D.C., estimates that 42% of the American population will be obese by 2030. That is a rather astounding figure.

There are companies already cashing in on the dilemma as we speak. To sit down and watch a TV program for an hour (which possibly contributes to a sedentary lifestyle) the public is bombarded with commercials touting their latest weight loss product. Obviously their silver bullet is not working.

Healthcare costs, when it comes to obesity, are high and climbing. So far the emphasis has been on getting the public to take personal responsibility for their children’s weight gain and themselves. Unfortunately, the numbers continue to soar. Conversly, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies presents the stance in a new study that the solution may not be to lay all blame at the feet of those who are overweight or obese but instead to study and rectify the “obesity-promoting environment” that has been created over the years.

Years ago vendors began rolling out products that would accommodate individuals who suffer from weight gain. The healthcare industry also began to take a closer look at the bariatric patient. Whether it was widening doorways or manufacturing chairs to seat larger individuals, there was a definite focus on the issue.

However, it is clear enough that there is a way to create an environment that is sensitive to the needs of people with weight issues while still providing settings that promote health and wellness. From a healthcare design standpoint it seems the message is understood. Those hidden staircases are beginning to show up again, walking trails and fitness paths have also become more visible.

There are so many more ideas out there that are being implemented to encourage activity in patients, visitors, and staff at healthcare facilities. Hopefully, if this can extend to other spaces and building types, the nation as whole may help down shift the numbers.  What are some of the unique ideas you have seen to promote fitness and health in healthcare facilities?