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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
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
Jun302010

Medicare Implements Wellness Changes

For health clubs working with local physicians, the new Medicare rules could mean an increase in referrals of obese, older adults. “There are an increasing number of clubs in the industry creating specialized programs for this population,” says Helen Durkin, executive vice president of IHRSA Public Policy. “For these clubs, the Medicare changes means more potential members coming in their doors because more doctors will be counseling and referring their patients on sustainable weight loss behaviors, including exercise.”

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Wednesday
Jun302010

Study: Obesity Rates Are Climbing

F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2010 highlights troubling racial, ethnic, regional and income disparities in the nation's obesity epidemic. For instance, adult obesity rates for Blacks and Latinos were higher than for Whites in at least 40 states and the District of Columbia; 10 out of the 11 states with the highest rates of obesity were in the South -- with Mississippi weighing in with the highest rates for all adults (33.8 percent) for the sixth year in a row; and 35.3 percent of adults earning less than $15,000 per year were obese compared with 24.5 percent of adults earning $50,000 or more per year.

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Wednesday
Jun232010

IHRSA Featured on HHS Physical Activity Guidelines Blog

Last week, IHRSA’s Senior Public Policy Manager, Tom Richards was a guest blogger on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines blog, Be Active Your Way.

The blog post focuses on Physical Activity for the Baby Boomer Generation and the Health Club Industry.

Everything I Know About Baby Boomers I Learned From a Cholesterol Drug Commercial

IHRSA was asked to participate in the last year after working with HHS to successfully launch the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The purpose of the blog is to stimulate dialog among professionals who work on physical activity promotion about how they can encourage Americans to get the physical activity they need based on the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. This is IHRSA’s third contribution to the Be Active Your Way blog.

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
Jun092010

Joe Moore on Health Leadership

Joe Moore on Health Leadership
The following is an excerpt from an article written by Joe Moore, IHRSA president and CEO that appeared earlier this week on the Washington Post website.

Employers must become part of the solution and help their employees become more physically active. After all, when employees become sick with chronic diseases brought on by unhealthy lifestyles, health care premiums rise and productivity drops. The associated economic burden falls not only on the individual, but on the employer and co-workers as well.

Business leaders are already becoming personally involved in the effort to promote physical activity and wellness. Take, for example, Lincoln Industries' Chairman and CEO, Marc LeBaron. Every year LeBaron leads Nebraska-based Lincoln Industries' people employees in a challenging climb up a 14,000 foot Colorado mountain. To qualify for the climb, which includes a paid day off, an all-expense paid Colorado mountain climbing expedition, and transportation and lodging expenses--a Lincoln Industries people employee must have participated in 75 percent of the company's wellness programs, which include tracking their physical exercise, smoking cessation, and health assessments.

Read the full article.