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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 Federal Update (71)

Wednesday
Jul142010

What the Tanning Tax Means for Your Club

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued regulations relating to the ten percent excise tax on indoor tanning services, which exempts “qualified physical fitness facilities”. The exception is designed to exempt health clubs that provide access to tanning devices as part of membership fees. However, due to the multitude of ways clubs charge members for various services, there is understandable confusion as to how the tax on tanning impacts each health club.

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Wednesday
Jul142010

First Lady Hosts Online Discussion on Childhood Obesity and Preventative Health

As part of continued efforts on her Let's Move campaign against childhood obesity, Mrs. Obama hosted an online discussion yesterday to raise awareness for the growing epidemic. The video chat coincided with the launch of the new LetsMove.gov. IHRSA has supported the First Lady’s leadership in tackling the problem of childhood obesity since its inception, pledging the fitness industry’s ardent backing of her efforts in a February letter to Mrs. Obama shortly after the Let’s Move campaign was launched. 

Today, Mrs. Obama is going to announce new preventive health benefits made available under the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Jill Biden, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and doctors, nurses, families, and leaders from the health community will join the First Lady. The White House scheduled a live broadcast of the announcement on its website, www.whitehouse.gov/live. 

Wednesday
Jul072010

Federal Health Promotion Council Issues First-Ever Report

The National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council submitted its first status report to Congress last week. The Report outlines the preliminary work of the Council in its development of a national health promotion strategy.

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Wednesday
Jun162010

Obama Establishes National Prevention, Health Promotion & Public Health Council

The creation of the council is yet another indicator of the growing, collective awareness among policymakers of the importance of prevention and health promotion. It also demonstrates that policymakers understand that the federal government is not currently maximizing the potential for health promotion and prevention, and that a new, integrated approach to the issue is necessary.

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Wednesday
Jun162010

HHS Announces $250 Million in Prevention Funding

On Friday, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced an additional $250 million in funding for prevention and public health from the Affordable Care Act. “Investing in prevention and public health builds the foundation for improving the health and well-being of Americans, and for lowering costs in the health care system,” said Secretary Sebelius. “Investing in proven preventive services will help patients get the care they need early, avoiding costly and unnecessary care later. This prevention-focused approach is better for doctors, patients, and our national balance sheet.” 

The funding is the second allocation for fiscal year 2010 from the new $500 million Prevention and Public Health fund created by the Affordable Care Act. Part of the funding will support federal, state and community prevention initiatives on obesity prevention and fitness. 

“With these investments, we are tackling the underlying causes of chronic diseases as well as strengthening our ability to meet the public health challenges of the 21st century,” said Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin. “This moves America in the direction of becoming a fit and healthy nation.”

Wednesday
Jun162010

Federal Dietary Panel Urges Exercise and Healthy Eating

An advisory panel for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines released a report this week stating that obesity is "the single greatest threat to public health in this century," while urging Americans to slash calories and increase their physical activity. The preliminary report focuses not only on suggesting changes to the average American diet, such as shifting to a more plant-based diet and cutting fats and sugar, but also on increasing physical activity. 

In particular, the report urges the public to meet the recommendations of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. While past dietary guidelines have referenced physical activity, these are the first recommendations that point to the 2008 Guidelines, which provide more specific to different segments of the population, such as children, adults, and older Americans. 

The public now has 30 days to comment on the panel’s report. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture expect to release the final version of the guidelines this fall. 

Wednesday
Jun022010

DOL Changes Rule on 15-Year Old Lifeguards

As the school year ends and teens start heading to summer jobs, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued new child labor rules impacting 14 and 15-year olds. For health clubs, this means that 15-year-olds can now work as permitted lifeguards and swimming instructors, if properly trained and certified. 

The rules also clarify the Department’s long-standing position that anyone under the age of 16 cannot work as a dispatcher on an elevated water slide or as a lifeguard in a natural environment (lakes, river, oceans beaches, etc). 

Details on the rule change, which takes place on July 19, 2010, can be found online at the DOL website

Wednesday
May262010

September to Become National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September to Become National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution to make September 2010 National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. The bill is currently awaiting signature from President Barack Obama. House Resolution 996 was introduced by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio-11) and was co-sponsored by 110 House representatives.

Speaking on the House Floor, Rep. Fudge said, “Dedicating at least one month out of each year to bring awareness to this issue of childhood obesity will help maximize the effect of programming, messaging, and campaigns all aligned with the sole purpose of eradicating childhood obesity.”

Watch a video of Rep. Fudge speaking on the House Floor in support of House Resolution 996.

Friday
May072010

First-Ever Comprehensive Obesity Legislation Introduced

The Healthy CHOICES Act is first-of-its kind legislation that provides a comprehensive approach to treating obesity, bringing together industry, government, and non-profits to address America's obesity epidemic. The legislation establishes BMI as a "vital sign"; expands obesity treatment and preventive services and coverage of medical nutrition therapy; provides grants to promote health in underserved communities and to train health professionals and health profession students; improves and increases access to nutrition and wellness programs; improves access to and opportunity for physical activity for adults and children; improves access to nutritional information and healthy foods; realigns transportation policy to help promote healthy lifestyles; and expands research and assessment tools on obesity.

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Wednesday
Mar172010

Federal Government Seeking Public Input on Childhood Obesity

The work of the task force will complement the efforts of first lady Michelle Obama as she leads a national public awareness effort to tackle the issue. Through the first lady's Let's Move initiative, she will encourage involvement from the public, nonprofit, and private sectors, as well as families to help support and amplify the work of the federal government in improving the health of the nation's children.

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