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IHRSA Advocate

The IHRSA Advocate is your guide to knowing and understanding the policies that influence daily health club operations. We analyze the action, so you know when to take your own.

For more timely relevant news about advocacy issues affecting the industry, and your bottom-line, subscribe to​ the bi-weekly (member-only) IHRSA Advocate newsletter

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Are Healthy Lifestyles Contagious?

If obesity can be an epidemic, does it stand to reason that a healthy lifestyle could be an epidemic as well?

This week on the Department of Health and Human Services blog, IHRSA explores this topic and the possibility of starting an epidemic of living healthy and exercising regularly via social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

To read the blog post, click here.


National Physical Activity Plan Moves into Implementation  

The National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) has established national implementation priorities in a new digital report, Make the Move, which provides an outline of short-term and long-term goals to implement policies, programs and initiatives to get more Americans moving. The report was developed by the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA).

IHRSA is a proud partner of NPAP and the NCPPA, and serves as the voice of the health club industry in crafting national programs that aim to increase exercise.

Learn more at or get involved at


Facing Deficits, More States Consider Sales Tax on Memberships

Budgets and deficits are the main agenda items for many state legislatures in 2011, as massive fiscal problems affect states throughout the country. Wisconsin and Indiana have garnered significant media attention in the past two weeks for their high profile attempts to slash state spending, however, IHRSA is also seeing an old trend resurge with a renewed fury: sales tax impositions.

Click to read more ...


It's National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

It's National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

February 20-26th is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. IHRSA is partnering with the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) to raise awareness of the dangers surrounding eating disorders and the need for early intervention and treatment.

This week we encourage you to raise awareness about eating disorders in your club. By completing a brief registration, you will receive several free resources from NEDA to assist your efforts. In addition, NEDA sells a “Sports & Health Club Kit” for creating a lobby display.

More information on National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, including news on related events and contests, may be found here.


Gallup: National Exercise on the Rise

Gallup recently released encouraging data indicating that the message of prevention and exercise is taking hold across America. According to the poll, the percentage of Americans who said they exercised for at least 30 minutes three or more days per week rose to 51.1 percent in 2010, up from 49.6 percent in 2009.


The Private Sector Makes Its Voice Heard on Prevention 

Budget talks are beginning to consume much—if not all—of Capitol Hill dialogue these days, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks and months. In anticipation, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), in partnership with WellPoint, Inc., held a briefing to demonstrate the toll chronic disease is taking on health care spending, and the cost-saving value of private sector prevention efforts.

"With all eyes on the budget…and discussions quickly turning to ways to lower federal spending and cut the deficit, it's a perfect time to have this discussion and collectively show what can be done to lower health care costs without compromising quality," said Dr. Ken Thorpe, executive director of PFCD, to

Currently, preventable and highly manageable chronic diseases consume 75 percent of health care costs. For Medicare and Medicaid specifically, chronic diseases are even more devastating—generating more than 95 percent of costs.

The private sector solutions highlighted at the event demonstrated how targeting prevention and wellness efforts improve individual and community health, as well as reduce unnecessary health care spending. The event featured the efforts of health care organizations, payors and health and wellness professionals.

For more information on PFCD and future events, please visit


HHS Allocates $16 million to Let’s Move!

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has allocated $16 million to the Let’s Move! ( initiative. The funds will be used to advance activities to improve nutrition and increase physical activity to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce obesity related conditions and costs. In addition, $112 million has been dedicated to preventive health services, which includes strengthening employer participation in wellness programs. (View the complete outline of funding priorities). 

The funding is part of a larger commitment on behalf of HHS to “promote a health in all policies approach that creates environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice.”

Want to know how the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund affects your club’s state? Find out here in a state-by-state synopsis.


IHRSA Supports National Go Red for Women Campaign

Last Friday IHRSA showed its support for Go Red for Women Day, a fundraising campaign led by the American Heart Association that asks Americans to wear red as a show of support for the fight against heart disease in women.

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WHIP Introduced in Senate

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa reintroduced the Workforce Health Improvement Program Act (WHIP) as part of a comprehensive wellness bill known as the Healthier Lifestyles and Prevention America Act (HeLP America Act). HeLP is aimed at reducing obesity, chronic disease and health care costs.

Click to read more ...


IHRSA VP Urges Fitness Professionals To Consider Making A Difference  

After Walmart launched an aggressive initiative to reduce obesity across the United States by making healthier food options available in its stores, many were inspired by the growing unity in the fight against obesity that the retail giant’s announcement signified.

IHRSA’s own Executive Vice President of Public Policy, Helen Durkin, was moved to write a response about the announcement, and what it means for the future of health and wellness in America.

“The announcement comes as great hope—hope that at last we have begun to act together,” Durkin writes, “as a unified society, to address a problem that threatens both the physical and fiscal health of our entire country.”

To read the full blog post, click here.