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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 HHS (19)


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.


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


Women's Health Suffers from Obesity and Physical Inactivity

A new report says that the U.S. has failed to meet virtually every goal set for women’s health as established by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Healthy People 2020 agenda, and it is likely that obesity and physical inactivity are the main culprits for the dismal results.

The new report, titled "Making the Grade on Women's Health: A National and State-by-State Report Card," found that a satisfactory rating was only given to three of the twenty-six measures of good health for women.

The report also notes that even more women are suffering from obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo, chief of the division of general internal medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said he was "not surprised by the report," as told to USA Today. “It is not surprising to see diabetes levels rising as obesity and lack of physical activity increase among women. That also accounts for the increases in blood pressure,” he said.   


Launch of Healthy People 2020

IHRSA’s Senior Public Policy Manager, Tom Richards, will be in attendance as the U.S.’s national health promotion and disease prevention objectives for the next decade are released. The Healthy People 2020 objectives are aimed at reducing the nation’s most significant and preventable threats to national health. IHRSA took part in reviewing and providing recommendations on the draft version of the objectives last year.

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National Prevention Strategy Released

Last week, the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council released its framework for the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy. The strategy seeks to “improve the health and quality of life for individuals, families, and communities, by moving the nation from a focus on sickness and disease, to one based on wellness and prevention.” 

A full draft of the Council’s strategy framework is available for download, here. 

Established by President Obama and chaired by the Surgeon General, the Council is charged with coordinating prevention activities and designing a federal strategy to prevent disease and promote the nation’s health. 

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has stated that the Council’s creation is part of federal efforts to address preventable diseases. According to HHS, “chronic diseases – such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes – are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75% of the nation’s health spending… Too many Americans engage in behaviors – such as poor diet and physical inactivity – that lead to poor health.” 


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.”


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. 


Physical Activity Guidelines Interpreted for Health Care Professionals

The article notes that in the future, federal health policy will likely place more of an emphasis on preventing chronic diseases than just on treatment of disease. Though it also acknowledges that current training for providers on how to counsel patients about physical activity is limited, training of future providers offers an opportunity to improve this area of medical education. For now, resources such as the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans will help medical and public health professionals respond effectively to the new expectations and opportunities.

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Stimulus Act Prevention Grants Announced

"This is an unprecedented level of commitment to prevention," said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Investing in local communities will build a healthier America, and we aim to reach more than 50 million people who are living in the communities receiving these awards.”

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