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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.

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Entries in Congress (4)


First Ever Report Card on Youth Fitness

The first-ever report card evaluating youth fitness in U.S. was released to Congress.

And it looks like the U.S. is going to need a parent signature on this one. During a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill, attended by IHRSA, the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance and the American College of Sports Medicine presented a "report card" that evaluates 10 indicators of youth fitness. The report grades each indicator based on national research. It includes two Ds, two Cs, one F, one B, and four "incompletes." 

Specifically, the report card shows that physical activity levels in American youth fall far below the recommended level, with only about one quarter of children aged 6-15 meeting the current guideline of 60 minutes of moderate physical activity per day, and that half of a child's waking hours are spent doing something sedentary.

"I think the report made it abundantly clear to Congress that the government has a role in encouraging youth to be physically active, and that action should be taken now. The report card demonstrates how good health is a pre-requisite for success in any future endeavor, and ensures a healthy, prosperous America," said Tom Richards, IHRSA's senior legislative counsel.

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) called the report's results "deeply troubling," and Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisc.) said the report makes the case for immediate action to improve youth fitness in America. 



CMS Report to Congress: Seniors Who Work Out May Lower Health Care Costs

In a report to Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid present evidence that older Americans who exercise likely lower health care costs. The University of Washington PRC's EnhanceFitness program was one of nine programs analyzed in a recent report to Congress by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The report's findings concluded that EnhanceFitness, a community-based physical activity program for older adults, may help lower health care costs.

Read more.


Congress Suffers from Inactivity Too

According to the Boston Globe, “Congress is close to wrapping up one of its least productive sessions in recent memory,” due to the very small number of bills that passed both the Senate and House this year, compared to other nonelection years, says the newspaper. It also provides the following data:

  • Through Nov. 30, the House had passed 326 bills, the fewest in at least 10 nonelection years, according to annual tallies in the Congressional Record.
  • The Senate had approved 368 measures, the fewest since 1995.
  • By comparison, the House approved 970 bills in 2009 and 1,127 in 2007.
  • The Senate totals for those years were 478 and 621, respectively.

Whether this drop in output is good or bad depends on one’s personal view, and the reasons for it as well. However, there is no arguing that the numbers are significantly lower than those of previous Congresses, and that, on a very basic level, it has something to do with the partisan gridlock currently prevailing in both chambers. More bills are expected to pass before the end of the year, but not enough to make up the glaring gap.

IHRSA is proud to say that, despite the gridlock, we successfully passed Senate Resolution 97, and introduced both the WHIP and PHIT Acts this year, each with strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and House.

Read the full article here.


If Congress Has a Gym, Shouldn’t All Americans?

According to ABC News, a wholly different story has emerged from the controversy surrounding felled New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, and it has little do with the racy photos and more to do with where he took them: The Congressional House Gym.

The gym is partially subsidized by the federal government, says ABC, and Members of Congress have access to the onsite fitness facility for a $20 (House) or $40 (Senate) monthly membership fee.  

On the campaign trail, President Obama argued that all Americans should have the same access to health care as Members of Congress, which then makes one think — shouldn’t all Americans have the same access to fitness subsidies as Members of Congress?