In a national survey sponsored by Bally Total Fitness (NYSE: BFT) it was found that more Americans are skipping meals now than they did just a few years ago. In a survey of more than 1,200 members nationwide, two-thirds of those surveyed said they skip breakfast at least once a week, and over half said they skip lunch just as often. The results reflect a growing trend towards spending less time eating and more time working.

Not only are Americans skipping more meals, they are spending less time at meals in general, according to the survey. Almost half of the respondents report spending 15 minutes or less for lunch and the numbers are even bleaker for breakfast. Four out of five say they take 15 minutes or less for “the most important meal of the day.”

“Naturally, it is best to get balanced nutrition from meals. However, as this survey shows, that is not occurring in today’s hectic society,” said Dr. Jason Conviser, Ph.D., Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. “With that in mind, nutritional supplements are a good way to get the nutrients that are not gained through normal eating habits.”

To respond to this trend, Bally Total Fitness, the nation’s leading fitness company, is launching a new line of private label high-protein, low- fat, ready-to-drink meal replacement shakes called B-Trim® Shakes. The shakes pack 25 grams of protein and only one gram of fat into a 12-ounce can, and are being sold through the fitness chain’s nearly 400 locations.

The survey also suggests a willingness on the part of consumers to reach for alternative sources of nutrition. Almost two-thirds of the survey respondents said they enjoy the taste of meal replacement shakes, and more than 54 percent say they seek out healthier options such as fruits, vegetables and energy bars — hinting at a pent-up demand for such healthy alternatives on the market today.

While Americans are spending less time at meals, they are spending more time snacking. Nine out of ten of those surveyed said they snack between meals, with 40 percent of them choosing cookies, potato chips or candy.

As a result, Bally Total Fitness is also introducing a new line of energy bars to get active people from one meal to the next with a more sensible snack.

The Bally Snack Right Bar is available in five flavors, offers 7 grams of protein and a maximum of 4 grams of fat. These bars are the perfect solution for people who are not willing to compromise taste for products that are better for them. The bars range from 38 and 41 grams per serving, depending on the flavor.

Additionally, Bally Total Fitness has developed the new High Protein Bar to help fuel the needs of busy people. The Bally High Protein Bar is available in two flavors, chocolate and peanut butter, and packs 24 grams of protein into an 85 gram serving with only seven to eight grams of fat.

“We understand that people have less time for meals today because of their busy, active lives,” said Paul Toback, vice president of corporate development for Bally Total Fitness. “But many of us still want to eat well and need healthy meal replacements and snacks to get through the day.”

Bally Total Fitness is the leading commercial operator of fitness centers in North America, with approximately four million members and nearly 400 facilities located in 28 states and Canada. Bally Total Fitness is committed to offering its members the complete resources to help them achieve their personal fitness and health goals at an affordable price. Member benefits include the availability of a complete range of innovative group exercise programs, personal trainers, nutritional supplements, and the latest and best cardiovascular and strength training equipment.

For more information about Bally Total Fitness and its new product offerings, contact Dave Southern, vice president of public and investor relations, at 773-399-7611, or visit