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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.

For more timely relevant news about advocacy issues affecting the industry, and your bottom-line, subscribe to​ the bi-weekly (member-only) IHRSA Advocate newsletter

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Wednesday
Sep222010

President's Council Announces Nationwide Physical Activity Campaign

The goal of the campaign is to get one million or more Americans to sign up for and achieve the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) between now and September, 2011. To earn the award, adults must be active for thirty minutes a day, five days a week, for six out of eight weeks. Keeping in line with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the daily requirement for children is extended to sixty minutes a day.

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Wednesday
Sep152010

Congressional Budget Office Demonstrates Economic Burden of Obesity

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released an issue brief detailing the significant increases in health care costs for obese individuals. According to the report, spending per capita for obese adults exceeded spending for otherwise similar adults of normal weight by about 8% in 1987 and by about 38% in 2007.

Obese adults are more likely to develop serious illnesses, including coronary heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. Thus, if obesity rates continue to rise-as they are likely to do-health care spending could reach almost $8,000 annually per obese individual, says the CBO. 

The findings of the CBO’s report create even greater reason for lawmakers—state and federal—to consider policies that will reduce the fraction of obese Americans, namely by encouraging greater physical activity. 

Wednesday
Sep152010

Senate Votes in Favor of Prevention

Yesterday, the US Senate voted in favor of preventative health care, striking down a proposal to strip funding to the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Introduced by Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns, the proposal would have eliminated $11 billion toward the promotion of physical activity, tobacco cessation, vaccine programs, and cancer screenings.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, led the opposition to the amendment and expressed appreciation for the Senate’s decision.

"We have systematically neglected wellness and disease prevention in this country--as evidenced by the fact that the United States spends twice as much per capita on health care as European countries, but is twice as sick with chronic disease. This amendment perpetuated the disastrous notion that we can neglect and de-fund prevention efforts without paying a huge long-term cost in unnecessary chronic disease and disability--as well as skyrocketing health insurance premiums. In blocking it, the Senate upheld the old principle that an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure."

Read more about this victory for preventative care, here.

Wednesday
Sep012010

NFL Re-Enters National Spotlight Ready to Tackle Childhood Obesity

As fans across the country eagerly await next Thursday night’s kickoff of the 2010 National Football League (NFL) season, the league and many of its star players are continuing efforts to address one of the biggest problems facing their fans: childhood obesity. The league is capitalizing on its soaring nationwide popularity - the Nielsen Co. estimated that 106.5 million people watched the NFL’s Super Bowl last February – and encouraging young fans of all teams to be live active and healthy lifestyles. This season marks the fourth for the NFL’s “Play 60” campaign, which is the centerpiece of the league’s “Movement for an Active Generation” focusing on the health and wellness of kids by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. 

Fans of all ages can learn more at NFLRUSH.com. 

Some NFL players have extended their efforts to combat childhood obesity further. New Orleans Saints’ quarterback, and reigning Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, Drew Brees has taken a role as Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. The Council’s stated mission “is to engage, educate and empower all Americans across the lifespan to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition.” 

To learn more about the Council, please visit www.fitness.gov.

Wednesday
Sep012010

FDA Releases Preliminary Guidelines on Calorie Posting

Health club cafes and vending machines may be affected.

The new health care law enacted in March requires chain restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calorie information on their menus and menu boards.

According to preliminary guidelines released last week, the FDA has expanded the requirement beyond restaurants to other places that offer food, including convenience stores, grocery store food courts and cafes. This could have potential implications for health clubs that qualify as chains, with 20 or more locations, and house cafes on the premises. The FDA would also require vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more machines to disclose calories for food items.

The FDA plans to release final guidelines on who is covered, and how, in December. 

Wednesday
Sep012010

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

In recent months, both chambers of Congress passed an IHRSA-supported resolution designating September 2010 as the first-ever National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

The stated purpose of the resolution is 1) to raise public awareness and mobilize the country to address childhood obesity; 2) to recognize the importance of preventing childhood obesity and decreasing its prevalence in the United States; and 3) to request that the President issue a proclamation calling on the federal government, states, tribes and tribal organizations, localities, schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, other entities, and the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate programs and activities with the goal of promoting healthy eating and physical activity and increasing awareness of childhood obesity among individuals of all ages and walks of life.

Wednesday
Aug252010

USPTA Strives to Ace Childhood Obesity

In coordination with “National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month”, the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) is encouraging children across the country to get involved with tennis in order to form lifelong habits of fitness and good health. The USPTA has called upon its members to promote their tennis programs to kids in their area and get involved in the nationwide effort to curb childhood obesity.

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Wednesday
Aug112010

CDC Announces Rising Obesity Rates

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new report, showing the grim reality that more Americans are becoming obese. This year's survey results show that no state met the Healthy People 2010 target of reducing obesity to 15 percent, although some states did better than others.

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Wednesday
Aug112010

NJ Supreme Court Rules Club Not Liable Due to Waiver

The club successfully argued that the waiver and release form she signed when she joined bound the plaintiff. The waiver included release of liability by the club for "the sudden and unforeseen malfunctioning of any equipment."

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Wednesday
Jul212010

Federal Government Provides Incentives for Tracking Body Mass Index

For the health club industry, this is another important step in getting the medical community to discuss healthy weight and behavioral modifications, such as exercise, with patients. Research shows that patients, especially those who are obese or overweight want their medical providers to give them direct advice about weight management. However, the same research shows that many doctors are not discussing healthy weight and behavioral modifications. The new incentive program from the federal government could help more doctors to “prescribe exercise as medicine” to their patients.

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