I recently sent a few friends in the parking consulting profession an online article from Harvard Business Review. Here is an excerpt:

As a recent review of past scientific studies noted, frequent business travel, especially long-haul travel, accelerates aging and increases the likelihood of suffering a stroke, heart attack, and deep-vein thrombosis. It also exposes travelers to pathological levels of germs and radiation. If you fly over 85,000 miles per year, you are absorbing radiation levels above the regulatory limit of most countries.iStock_000007198270_Large

At about the same time I was sending this article, I received my monthly issue of the Wellness Letter, published by the University of California, Berkeley. The lead article was entitled The Girth of a Nation, and it outlined how we have become a nation of porkers. More than 80 million Americans are now obese.

What highlighted this topic even more was a tour and cruise from which my wife and I just returned—to Spain, France, and Italy. I couldn’t help but notice how many of my fellow Americans were moderately to severely overweight, while the Europeans we saw throughout our tour mostly looked trim and fit.

I’m going to guess that some of our colleagues who run downtown, university, airport, and suburban parking systems have internal programs that encourage healthy behaviors on the part of their employees and their families. I would bet there are a few that promote good health among their customers. But I would wager there is a whole lot more we could be doing:

  • How many parking systems have wellness, diet, and exercise programs integrated into the healthcare programs they provide employees?
  • How many have incentives built into their programs that reward smoking cessation and weight loss or control?
  • How many systems actively partner with local health organizations and provide educational messages in facilities?
  • How many systems promote bike riding for customers and employees?
  • How many work with local farmers markets to encourage purchase and consumption of locally grown, healthy food alternatives?
  • How many hold periodic brainstorming sessions among employees focused on health?

When I compare my fellow Americans with people from other countries, I’m convinced we could and should do more. It’s a wise investment.