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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 The Hill (5)


Fiscal Cliff Averted, Obesity Cliff Still Looms

IHRSA warned federal lawmakers of the danger of complacency regarding U.S. obesity in an op-ed on, a prominent DC news source read widely by legislators and aides. Helen Durkin, IHRSA’s EVP of Public Policy, acknowledged recent reports of a drop in childhood obesity rates, but said there is still a lot of work to be done.

Early last December, a report found that a few big cities including New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, saw decreases in the number of obese and overweight youth. The decreases were small (between 3 and 5 percent). “While reports of falling childhood obesity rates are greatly welcome, buried behind the good news are three hard truths,” wrote Durkin. The first truth, she says, is that the populations that suffer most from obesity in America are still growing. The second truth is that short-term fixes are not sustainable and third, Durkin wrote, is that the successful solution to obesity is a multi-pronged policy approach that includes regular exercise.

So, while the fiscal cliff has been addressed for now (Fiscal cliff deal: 5 things to know, CNN), the impact of obesity on health care spending is still looming. Given that high rates of obesity mean greater medical spending by both individuals and government, Durkin points out that, “the obesity ‘cliff’ that we face is just as real and as daunting as any fiscal one before us.”

Read the full op-ed here. (Scroll down to the 3rd article)


IHRSA: “Proof That Investing in Prevention is Bi-partisan”

Skepticism is growing, as many Americans wonder if it is even possible to get meaningful legislation passed in this historically polarized Washington. But, there is one issue on which both Republicans and Democrats resoundingly agree: we need to manage health care costs through healthy lifestyles.

In an op-ed on The Hill Blog—a Washington, DC publication read widely by legislators and their staff— Helen Durkin, IHRSA’s Executive Vice President of Global Public Policy, takes this message directly to those who need to hear it most: lawmakers.

“Improving America’s health isn’t a partisan issue. It’s political common ground,” writes Durkin, citing several government efforts—including legislation, health promotion initiatives such as the CEO Pledge (spearheaded by the NCPPA and IHRSA) and the formation of business and labor coalitions, all of which are supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

These initiatives could not come at a more necessary time, writes Durkin. “Solving America’s healthcare crisis has become a national imperative—and so has improving America’s health. It is time for us to look beyond partisan differences and embrace the common ground. Only then can we move forward together.”

Read the complete article here.


Ron Kind: “Instill Healthy Habits in our Children"

Long time IHRSA ally, Congressman Ron Kind of Wisconsin, is speaking out this week about the need to halt the childhood obesity epidemic in the US. Kind has introduced several IHRSA backed measures in Congress, including the WHIP and PHIT Acts, and is an ardent supporter of promoting healthy lifestyles in our nation’s youth.  

“We must do something to improve the health and well-being of our children. We can start by instilling in them healthy habits at a young age to help them grow up to be healthy adults,” states Kind in an op-ed on the Hill Blog. Kind details what efforts he is supporting in Congress, including the FIT Kids Act, which IHRSA has identified as a priority issue for the 112th Congress.

Kind is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, co-chairman of the Congressional Wellness Caucus, co-chairman of the Congressional Fitness Caucus, and co-chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Childhood Obesity.


Congress Must Tackle Obesity and Costs to Economy

“The best solution is…to ensure that the policies in place are consistent with the goal of lowering obesity rates in this country,” writes Laura Michina, fitness author and business consultant, in an editorial post on The Hill’s Congress Blog, a popular blogging site for federal lawmakers.

Michina urges Congress to provide for more opportunities for Americans to live healthy lifestyles, without dictating their behavior. “It is certainly not the government’s role to dictate or monitor what people eat and how much they move. However, it is the government’s role to enact laws, regulations, and policies that encourage a healthy society.” 

Read the full article...


Joe Moore: Exercise is a National Bipartisan Issue

Exercise is a National Bipartisan Issue

says Joe Moore in The Hill

When you consider the facts, the need for such a resolution becomes clear. As underscored in the Resolution itself, 400,000 people in the United States die each year due to poor diet and physical inactivity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 68 percent of America’s adults and 16.9 percent of our country’s children are obese or overweight, according to the Department of Health and Human Services; approximately half of the direct medical costs associated with diseases that stem from obesity and inactivity are paid for by the government and U.S. taxpayers through federally funded programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare; and the potential savings in direct medical costs if all inactive American adults engaged in regular physical activity could be as high as $80 trillion.

But it’s not only Congress that needs to be committed to increasing physical activity in this country, nor simply the first lady. It’s each of us individually and collectively. Individuals, parents, families, educators, communities, doctors, health professionals, businesses, and industry — each of us must take action.

Read more.