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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 youth fitness (17)


IHRSA Supports the New Youth Physical Fitness Program

Gone are the days of counting how many pull ups you can do in gym class. The newly redesigned Presidential Youth Fitness Program (trying to figure out how it will jump right to the Youth Fitness story) aims to assess and track the health of American children by emphasizing the importance of living a physically active and healthy lifestyle. This week IHRSA gives an in-depth look at the new program on the Health and Human Services blog, Be Active Your Way.


New Presidential Youth Fitness Program Announced

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition today announced they are phasing out their Youth Fitness Test which dates back to 1966 and replacing it with the Presidential Youth Fitness Program. The comprehensive school-based program employs the latest science and promotes health and physical activity for America’s youth. This voluntary program represents a significant change in how schools and parents approach kids’ physical fitness.

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IHRSA Supports ESEA Legislation 

IHRSA was one of 70 organizations to sign a letter urging Senators Tom Harkin and Mike Enzi to support the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESAE) of 2011, which would support quality physical education and nutrition education in our nation’s schools. These programs help provide a sound foundation for the development of healthy and productive adults.

“It is critical that our educational institutions support and encourage activities and curricular instruction that allow students to be physically active and obtain the knowledge and skills they will need to enjoy a lifetime of good health,” says the letter. “Furthermore, research has found a strong correlation between school-based physical activity, including physical education, and higher academic performance.”

Read the letter (PDF).

Last Friday, the House introduced two education bills that together, serve as the House version of ESAE, however, there is no mention of physical education or physical activity in either bill. IHRSA will alert members to all updates. 


First Lady Says US Kids Face “Inactivity Crisis”

America’s children are experiencing a “crisis of inactivity,” First Lady Michelle Obama said last week during a talk in Washington on behalf of Let’s Move!. “We may well be raising the most sedentary generation of kids in the history of this country,” she said, citing overexposure to television, video games and cellphones as major causes of the problem. IHRSA was in attendance at the event, which was aimed at finding new ways to get American youth to exercise more. 

Mrs. Obama’s speech acknowledged an important, often overlooked subtlety, which is that “physical inactivity,” while related, is separate from the “obesity crisis.” Mrs. Obama went on to say that, “It’s about how active our kids are. That’s what I want to talk about today…and what each of us can do to start solving that problem.”

The first lady encouraged the audience to find new ways to get kids to exercise, suggesting that schools include physical activity in music and math classes, that faith leaders form “exercise ministries” for their congregations and toy manufacturers develop video games “that get kids moving their entire bodies, not just their thumbs.”

Read the full text of remarks here.


Congress Introduces Bill to Increase Youth Physical Activity

Today, Rep. Ron Kind (WI) and Sen. Mark Udall (CO) introduced House and Senate versions of the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act, a bill that would support state, local and federal strategies to get kids moving and increase physical activity in the outdoors. The measure was introduced largely in response to increasingly sedentary lifestyles in the United States and growing rates of obesity among children and adolescents —nearly one in three of whom are now overweight or obese.

IHRSA recognizes the importance of this bill in helping American youth develop healthy habits that will stay with them throughout their adult lives, and is illustrative of IHRSA’s Vision for a Healthier, More Prosperous America, which promotes primary prevention as a means to good health for individuals, family and children and employees. “By instilling in young people a love of exercise and physical activity, we give future generations greater opportunity for good health,” said IHRSA President and CEO, Joe Moore. “This legislation, if passed, will do just that.”

More information may be found here.


CDC Launches Physical Activity Guidelines for Schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued guidelines similar to the 2008 U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, specifically for U.S. schools. Each of the nine guidelines is accompanied by a set of implementation strategies developed to help schools work towards achieving each guideline. Schools play a critical role in improving the dietary and physical activity behaviors of students and have the ability to instill life-long healthy habits in our nation’s youth. View the complete set of guidelines here. 


Newark Serves Community Through Fitness

In Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker is undertaking an initiative to tackle childhood obesity by offering health and fitness education services to Newark youth. The initiative is in partnership with Cities of Service, a bi-partisan coalition of city mayors from across the country who will work together to engage citizens to address local challenges. 

The Cities of Service initiative was inspired by the Edward Kennedy Service America Act, signed into law by President Obama last year, which expands national service programs. The initiative is comprised of over one hundred cities, ten of which are launching their programs this month. 

Newark is one such city, and already, 200 volunteers have been recruited to staff evening clinics that will provide free organized physical activities for 2,000 children in underserved communities. The goal of the program is to educate youth about the important benefits of exercise. 

To learn more about Cities of Service, and see if your city is participating, visit today. 

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