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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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Dietary Guidelines for Americans Released

The federal government unveiled new dietary guidelines this week encouraging smaller portions, lower salt content, fewer sugary drinks and more fruits and vegetables for all Americans. The Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services coauthored the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, to serve as evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

“Helping Americans incorporate these guidelines into their everyday lives is important to improving the overall health of the American people,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a press release. “The new Dietary Guidelines provide concrete action steps to help people live healthier, more physically active and longer lives.”

To learn more about the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, log on to


IHRSA to Congress: "Prevention is Critical"

In an effort to keep up the drumbeat of prevention in Congress, IHRSA has sent a joint letter to both Senate and House leadership asking them to keep in mind the economic and health benefits of healthy lifestyles as they go forward with discussions on health care reform.

“Preventing chronic disease forthright is the sure-fire way to bring down the long-term cost of health care,” says IHRSA President and CEO, Joe Moore, discussing the letter in a blog post featured on, a leading DC publication, widely read by lawmakers and political figures.

In addition to keeping the focus on prevention solutions, IHRSA has also taken steps to create a stronger coalition of voices in support of prevention. Several organizations co-signed the letter, including the American College of Preventative Medicine, the American College of Preventative Medicine, the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the Exercise is Medicine Global Initiative and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

To read the full letter.


Cost of Heart Disease to Triple In 20 Years

The American Heart Association (AHA) released a new report yesterday that contained evidence to support the claim that the cost of treating cardiovascular diseases is expected to triple over the next 20 years. 

According to AHA CEO Nancy Brown, “Unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy environments have contributed to a tidal wave of risk factors among many Americans. Early intervention and evidence-based public policies are absolute musts to significantly reduce alarming rates of obesity, hypertension, tobacco use, and cholesterol levels.”

For the full news release.
For the full report.


Canada Unveils New Physical Activity Guidelines  

Canada has released a new set of physical activity guidelines redesigned to reflect the most current research demonstrating that more vigorous activity and strengthening exercises yield the greatest health benefits.

"There's enough evidence in the literature now to say... to derive significant health benefits, you need moderate to vigorous physical activity daily," says Mark Tremblay, chair of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology's (CSEP) committee on physical activity guidelines, the organization responsible for the development of the new guidelines, in an interview with CityNews Toronto. "We didn't have evidence for that in around 2000 when evidence was being assessed for the existing guidelines.”

The new guidelines suggest 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity a week for adults 18 and over and 60 minutes a day for children and youth, ages 5 to 17, to achieve measurable health benefits.

For more information on the new guidelines, log on to the Public Health Agency of Canada website.


IHRSA Signs on to Support Let's Move in School  

IHRSA has signed on as an organizational supporter of Let’s Move in School (, an initiative to properly equip America's schools with the knowledge and resources necessary to successfully increase physical activity in our nation’s youth and fight childhood obesity.

The goal of Let’s Move in School is to ensure that every school provides a comprehensive physical activity program with quality physical education as the foundation so that youth will develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime.  The program centers on enhancing and increasing before and after school activities, enriching physical education classes and boosting family and community involvement.

“IHRSA is proud to support this initiative,” says IHRSA President and CEO, Joe Moore. “Teaching young people the value of proper nutrition and exercise positions them well for any future success, and to maintain healthy habits as an adult.”

For more information on Let’s Move in School, log on to


US Surgeon General to Present at IHRSA30  

U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA, will address attendees of IHRSA’s 30th Anniversary International Convention & Trade Show in San Francisco.

On Saturday morning, March 19, Dr. Benjamin will present her “Vision for a Healthy & Fit Nation,” which emphasizes the importance of fighting the obesity epidemic by communicating and celebrating the full benefits of healthy living. “Americans will be more likely to change their behavior if they have a meaningful reward--something more than just reaching a certain weight or dress size,” suggests Dr. Benjamin. “The real reward is invigorating, energizing, joyous health. It is a level of health that allows people to embrace each day and live their lives to the fullest without disease or disability.” 

Dr. Benjamin’s presence at IHRSA30 will underscore the vital link between the medical and fitness communities. “On behalf of IHRSA and the entire fitness industry, I am extremely pleased to welcome such an admired and distinguished leader to our convention,” said Joe Moore, IHRSA’s President and CEO. “IHRSA members understand that health clubs must play a critical role in promoting healthy living, and we are eager to support Dr. Benjamin’s efforts to combat obesity and fulfill the promise of the Healthy People 2020 goals for improving the health of all Americans."


IHRSA's New Year's Resolution for Congress

In the spirit of the industry, IHRSA challenged the 112th Congress to make a resolution, asking all of its lawmakers to support disease prevention efforts and healthy lifestyles.

"As the 112th Congress gets under way, it's expected that the continued debate over health care reform will consume a great deal of political energy," said Joe Moore, IHRSA's president and CEO, in a press release. "We want to ensure that both Republicans and Democrats alike understand and remain vigilant to the cost-saving role that effective disease prevention measures can play in the health care delivery system."

Exercise is an integral part of disease prevention and obesity.

IHRSA is looking forward to working with you, Congress and other IHRSA members during the coming year to ensure that policymakers recognize the powerful health and economic benefits of exercise.


National Prevention Strategy Adopts IHRSA Recommendation

The National Prevention Council’s recently released draft of the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy includes a recommendation made by IHRSA in October of last year, to incorporate health clubs as a valuable resource in increasing physical activity. 

The draft strategy includes increasing accessibility to, “parks and playgrounds, community centers, schools, fitness centers and outdoor recreation venues.” [Emphasis added]. These draft recommendations lay the groundwork for a national strategy to reduce obesity, chronic disease and help Americans live longer, healthier lives.

Download the full version of the draft strategy for more information.


U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Finds Physical Activity Counseling Improves Health

Physical activity counseling is an effective means of behavior change and leads to positive health outcomes, according to a recent review by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of non-Federal experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine.

The report aims to help clinicians, employers, policymakers, and others make informed decisions about the provision of health care services.


Congress Passes Legislation to Support Physical Activity

The legislation allows the President’s Council to raise private donations to fund operations aimed at increasing physical activity and reducing obesity, make strategic grants in support of such goals and increase public awareness of federal policies and programs to improve physical fitness.

Click to read more ...