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Loose change

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 11, 2002

WORKING IT OUT: The nation's economy may be sluggish, but a lot of workers apparently aren't. According to 2001 reports from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association trade group, fitness club revenues rose by nearly $1-billion, to $12.2-billion. And the number of fitness centers reached a record 17,807, a 16 percent gain over the year before.

BORED TO DEATH? Boring jobs can kill you, according to researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health. They found that workers in undemanding jobs with little control over their work were 35 percent more likely to die during a 10-year period than workers in challenging jobs with lots of decisionmaking responsibilities. The researchers controlled for other relevant factors in comparing the groups.

FAKES FLOURISH: Counterfeit imports are on the rise, the European Union says. European customs authorities intercepted $2-billion worth of fake Nintendo games, Nike shoes, L'Oreal toiletries and other products last year, a ninefold increase since 1998. Experts say counterfeiting accounts for up to 7 percent of world trade, or $250-billion a year.

WARMING UP: DQ wants to be thought of for more than ice cream. International Dairy Queen is slowly rolling out a new restaurant format with more food choices and warm, earth-tone dining rooms. The chain wants to expand its presence in metro areas with DQ Grill & Chill and ultimately grab a bigger piece of the $115-billion fast-food industry. Look for a Grill & Chill in Tampa by year-end.

PERFECTLY PUMPKIN: A whole patch of pumpkin-hued cars have come on the market. Cadillac's new CTS sports sedan comes in "copper sunburst," Mercedes-Benz is pushing a C-Class coupe in "paprika," and Acura's NSX sports car comes in "Imola orange" (named for a racetrack in Italy). In total, 15 orange models are out this year, compared with four in 1999.

-- Compiled by Cathy Keim from Times wires.

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