In an effort to control healthcare spending, hospitals across New Jersey are stepping up their services, not only administering care to the sick and injured, but focusing on keeping people healthy.  Aside from advanced disease screening and prevention, many facilities are opening state-of-the-art fitness centers where members are taught how to lead healthier lifestyles.

Health and fitness centers are operated in hospitals in the New Brunswick-based Robert Wood Johnson healthcare system, Virtua in South Jersey, CentraState in Freehold and University Medical Center of Princeton, to name a few.

The fitness centers are medically-based, so while anyone can join, they will be screened for blood pressure, heart rate and body fat before starting an exercise program.  The facilities also provide physicial-prescribed physical therapy and rehabilitation services to patients recovering from certain procedures.

"The big push behind health reform is that we think people use the hospital too much, and we would prefer they stay healthy and stay out of the hospital," said Derek DeLia, associate research professor at the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy, in a report published by  "So for hospitals to be relevant, they have an incentive to really be part of that, rather than just a bystander."