The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



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Enacting Health Policy in Battle Against Lifestyle Diseases

Just as the practice of good health is a day-to-day campaign, so too is the effort to get governments to enact good health policy. IHRSA's promotion of physical exercise and anti-obesity policy is not just centered in the United States. Nor is it limited to one specific policy prescription. IHRSA works with a number of governments and uses the information we have regarding global lifestyle diseases as an entry into those decision makers. 

For example, below is a letter to the editor and a story that shows the global harm from lifestyle diseases that the IHRSA policy team uses with public officials.

In response to an article in The New York Times, “Chronic Diseases Are Killing More in Poorer Countries,” Helen Durkin, IHRSA Executive Vice President of Global Public Policy wrote the following: 

Dear Editors:

Your article exposes the insidious nature of chronic—or “lifestyle”— diseases and serves as a stark reminder that along with the benefits of urbanization comes a toll. As the world’s populations increasingly migrate to cities, lifestyles related to more sedentary occupations and living spaces are likely to take hold. As we have observed here in the U.S., environment (both social and built) radically affects living habits and health. Perhaps this report will help us more acutely recognize the global nature of the fight against chronic disease—and that the best, most cost-effective cure is to prevent it wherever and whenever we can. It’s time for our domestic and international health-funding policies to reflect that reality.

Helen Durkin, Executive Vice President of Global Public Policy, IHRSA

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