The municipality is spending about NIS 1 billion to boost sports activities in the capital as a way of fighting the outflow of young people from the city, Mayor Nir Barkat – himself a long-distance marathon runner – said recently. He was attending the opening of Hadassah Optimal’s sports medicine center at the Hebrew University’s Lerner Center on Mount Scopus. The center has just moved from its previous site at the Malha Technology Park to the sports facility opposite the Regency Hotel on the southern edge of the Hebrew University and Hadassah University Medical Center campuses.

The new Hadassah Optimal (The Center for Quality of Life and Esthetics) facility is meant not only for professional and amateur sportsmen but also for lay adults and children of any age who want to improve and maintain their good health with counseling and monitoring. Some NIS 250,000 was invested in the upgraded facility, which is headed by Dr. Naama Constantini, a veteran sports medicine specialist from the orthopedics department of Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem.

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Hadassah Optimal was established in 2006 by the Hadassah Medical Organization to provide services to healthy people that are not included in the health basket supplied by the health insurers. While some of the services – such as Lasik eye surgery, tattoo removal, removing wrinkles or superfluous hair, stopping snoring and quitting smoking – are being provided by Hadassah specialists at the Ein Kerem Hotel, the physical activity, dietary advice and other related services are being offered at the Lerner Center location.

On hand in the basketball court, besides Barkat, were Hadassah Optimal director-general Roni Kaufman (owner of the Optics Doron optometry chain), HU president Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, Hadassah Medical Organization director-general Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, HMO marketing chief Amitai Rotem (who initiated the Optimal idea) and various sports figures.

The Lerner Center is a perfect place for the sports medicine center, said Constantini, because it already has 4,000 members. Showing off the computerized equipment that can determine at exactly what pace sportsmen and others should exert themselves, depending on their metabolism, heart rate and blood pressure, Constantini said she would invite Barkat to be tested as well. Not long ago, he participated in the New York Marathon, and he runs three mornings a week from home in Beit Hakerem to Kikar Safra.

Some of the sportsmen who have used the facilities in Malha are from the Israel Tennis Center, Betar Jerusalem and Hapoel Jerusalem. They must receive periodic approval from sports medicine specialists that they are in adequate shape for sporting activities. Other clients are obese or overweight teens; company managers from Zim, Israel Chemicals and others who live stressed lives; and organizations and businesses that need dietetic advice for employees. Constantini and colleagues also conduct research and give lectures at well-baby clinics, schools and other public venues.  

Ben-Sasson said that now that Mount Scopus has its own sports medicine facility, a similar one for students and faculty and for conducting research on the Ein Kerem Campus should follow.

Hadassah Optimal can be reached by calling 1-800-399-388 or via its Web site at
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