It’s people’s health and life expectancy versus Pecan trees down in Oak Cliff. This is a real head scratcher for me, given the fact that staying fit is the undisputed key to staying healthy and reducing health care costs in this country. Southern Dallas is already a wellness desert; the area has the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension in the city. Methodist Dallas Medical Center wants to expand a small campus fitness facility to a full-fledged wellness center to benefit everyone living south of  I -30. 

It’s even January, the month where everyone makes resolutions to get into better shape. And the latest mortality report from the Centers for Disease Control shows that Americans are dying sooner. In fact, for the third consecutive year, U.S. life expectancy fell. Our nation now ranks 29th globally in age-adjusted mortality despite all we spend on healthcare. Look at the 10 leading causes of death; at least half could be dramatically reduced with knowledge and technology we have right now if only U.S. citizens took better care of themselves. The author, Dr. Robert Pearl,  says that “if more Americans kept their New Year’s resolutions to improve their diet and exercise, we could greatly reduce the incidence of diabetes, our nation’s No. 7 cause of death.”

But in East Kessler Park, some folks who live in the neighborhood surrounding the Folsom Fitness Center on West Greenbriar Lane are more interested in saving trees, than people.

The Folsom Fitness Center at Methodist Dallas Medical Center wants to expand its current fitness facility, constructed in 1984 and only 5100 square feet, to a 35,000 square foot state-of-the-art center just northeast of the current location. They envision something similar to Baylor’s Tom Landry Fitness Center in Old East Dallas, which has aquatics, kettle bells, pilates, triathlon training, sports-performance programs, and so on. Or the 52,000 square foot Cooper Fitness Center in North Dallas, which has all of the above plus running trails on about 30 acres. (more…)