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ENGL 115 speech 4 outline

Kory Kochersperger
ENGL 115
Speech 4: Persuasive Speech
Should Philadelphia subsidize gym/fitness memberships for low-income citizens?
I. Introduction
A. Attention Getter:
"We are losing ground in the battle against cardio vascular disease.” Said by
Dr Sadiya Kahn, an assistant professor of cardiology at Northwestern
University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. There are plenty of metrics to
choose from, but they all paint the same picture. Over one third of US adults
are obese, increasing the risk of several leading causes of preventable
deaths including: heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and specific types of
cancer. While speaking of diabetes, the Philadelphia Department of Public
Health explains diabetes diagnosis has increased more than 50% over the
past 15 years, which falls directly in-line with national trends. The United
States continues to be sicker and sicker, year over year. The city of
Philadelphia not only falls inside the bell curve of ever-increasing chronic
disease, in some aspects it’s actually leading the way.
Norma Padron is associate director for Main Line Health Center for Population
Health Research as Lankenau Hospital. She wrote an article for PhillyMag in
2017 called “The Hard Truth Behind Philadelphia Health Statistics” tying
together direct evidence that health and wellness is succinctly a
socioeconomic problem. Padron explains, “According to the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings, Montgomery County stands
first among Pennsylvania counties in the socioeconomic factors that
determine health, whereas Philadelphia ranks 67th out of 67. These counties
are separated by a single street: City Avenue.
We can statistically prove the United States is sick, and fat, both of those on
an upward trajectory. And we can prove Philadelphia is no different.
B. Term Topic Question & Preview:
Should Philadelphia subsidize gym/fitness memberships for low-income
citizens? Yes, we should try it.
At a time when cities and communities are re-examining budgets and re-assessing
where their values and tax dollars align, 2020 seems like the right time for this kind of
program. As we’re seeing a transition away from extensive and continued money for
police, we need to strongly consider programs for those with a shallow voice. The lowincome populations with the least education, the worst health-habits, yet the most in
need of some help.
So today we’ll touch on how this program already exists in different capacities, mostly
within the private sector. We’ll also take a look at why it’s not only a morally good idea,
(an effort to serve the health of the people) but also logistically, the potential for
II. Body
A. The idea at hand.
1. Understanding the terms and the problem.
We have a health problem. And poor people have it most in amount, and
most in severity. We use a wide-spanning, umbrella term called chronic
disease to indicate a host of diagnosis including: heart disease, obesity,
asthma, diabetes, stroke, some cancers. We lump them together because
their prognoses are generally all the same: ultimately incurable, though
preventable. Further, if detected early many of these can be stopped or
reversed with non-medical prescriptions in the form of: healthy whole foods,
and significantly increased exercise.
2. Dig a bit deeper.
Obesity rates are higher in women.
Obesity rates are higher in middle-aged adults (45-65yr)
Obesity rates are nearly 2x higher in non-Hispanic black women, than white
And the most important piece of data we see from the Philadelphia
Department of Public Health is:
Adults with lower income, and those with a high school education or less have
significantly higher rates of obesity. And we see this holding true on a sliding
scale, the poorer you are the higher the odds you’re obese.
3. What’s the fallout?
With no prevention, it’s pretty obvious what happens next.
People with chronic disease account for 81% of all hospital admissions.
When that fails, (ultimately it will, there is no cure) seven out of ten deaths in
the United States are due to chronic disease, killing more than 1.7 million
Americans year over year.
B. A piece of the “solution”.
Answering the “why it happens” question is heavy, and multi-faceted.
Our mission here today is much more direct.
If increased exercise is undoubtedly one of the ways to fight off chronic disease,
and poor people have the highest rates of chronic disease, then how do we increase
access and remover barriers of entry. Our proposal is to cut cost from their equation.
a. It begins with an online database, geo-locating you to your nearest fitness
b. The city absorbs the costs of membership and in return there is an
attendance policy. If you check-in fourteen or more times in a month, no
c. In 2013, the Department of Labor published a 72-page study on four
private sector companies, and their wellness program initiatives. Programs
were set up similarly to the one we’ve proposed. Gym attendance was the
catalyst for re-imbursement to employees whom participated.
d. Philadelphia is in the back-of-the-pack when it comes to health/obesity in
the United States, but they know there’s a problem, and they’re trying. The
city has partnered with The Food Trust to increase availability and
affordability of healthy food via Farmer’s Markets in low income
neighborhoods. So, we know they’re accepting to the idea of combating
the crisis, potentially with city dollars.
e. Similarly, the city has partnered with Philly Powered Campaign to promote
physical activity and exercise.
C. Benefits // Drawbacks
1. Benefits
A) Much like a police force or a fire department is tasked to protect the
residents and communities they serve, the idea of protecting those same
people from health conditions that result in misery, loss of function, and death
shouldn’t seem too farfetched.
B) Increased health/wellness is correlated to better productivity, fewer sick
days, and over time, perhaps less pressure on our hospitals and healthcare
C) Better relations within broader communities. The proposal is similar to
something like college scholarships for low-income or minority students. A
more inclusive pool of community inhabitants in pursuit of the same thing,
(health) leads to better communication, and better understanding of each
D) Employment opportunities for counselors to educate and assist on a
person-to-person level, employment for tech fields to build and maintain the
E) As with any forward-thinking program the alternative is simply the
preceding status quo. Our proposal isn’t mandatory, there’s no penalty for
non-compliance. Our goal is simply to change the lives we can reach. We
educate those who are willing, we provide the funds, and the details (gym
schedules, class schedules, best methods of travel) and begin the “trick down
effect” where participants begin to teach the people of their inner-circle, and
we slowly grow the field. To not examine the idea, is to leave things just as
they are, with Philadelphia being one of the sickest major cities in our country.
1) Drawbacks
A) Money is king. Philadelphia is notorious for budget problems, and unless
money is diverted, this will obviously be a hard sell.
B) Past case-studies show that wellness incentives are usually met with lukewarm response. On top of that, the data suggests that those who do participate
are usually already the fittest, and most motivated.
C) Public outcry comes in varied forms, but it will inevitably appear. We would
need to define who qualifies and who doesn’t, which will leave people just
outside of that curve, and they’ll want an explanation why. Some conservative
minded people may reasonably claim this as simple government overreach. It’s
not the city’s job to tell people how to live.
D) The logistical complexities are too immense for the program to gain any
traction, meaning that free gym memberships don’t solely put bodies in gyms.
Low income communities have more hurdles to jump. Jerilyn Cox, a registered
nurse at Whitman-Walker Health in Washington DC explained it well, “You’re less
likely to go out to a recreational facility, or gym if you have to take multiple steps,
like figure out what hours you can go depending on your work schedule, and
what bus line or metro train you have to take to get there and back.”
III. Conclusion
A) Review
The battle in the United States against chronic disease is complicated and needs
to be approached from many, many angles. One thing is certain: low income
communities, and minority cultures suffer from its affects the worst. With our
proposal we are not trying to solve the whole problem at once, rather just one
sub-section of it. Science says that exercise can increase lean muscle tissue,
decrease bodyfat, and lower blood pressure. We believe positive results are best
achieved when people are in an environment of similar-thinking individuals. The
city of Philadelphia’s health statistics are a snapshot of those of the United
States, in some instances worse than the mean. Our program is to incentivize
low-income people to exercise more by paying for their memberships to health
facilities. These are our communities; we all live here. These are our neighbors
and their longevity, health, and well-being should concern us.
B) Appeal to Action
The action could come from either side. We can go to the gyms and companies
themselves, or go to the city’s representatives. The results we want will only
happen when both sides see the value. But the time is ripe. Our communities
seem tired of the same old asset allocation. Political change takes a long time,
unless the people demand their voices heard. We take our proposal to city
council, to the folks who run our city.