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100 Strong Voice their Support for PHIT

Just three months after IHRSA launched the Tax Weekend Challenge to generate support for WHIP and PHIT, PHIT has reached a milestone of 100 supporters. 

Over the weekend, Congress began its well-deserved recess period. But, before the bang of the gavel sounded, indicating the adjournment of summer sessions, Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) became the 100th member of Congress to address physical activity as a national priority by signing on to the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act as a co-sponsor in the House of Representatives. 

PHIT—introduced in the Senate in October 2015 and in the House of Representatives in March 2015—would increase the affordability and accessibility of a number of fitness products and services including health club memberships, fitness equipment, workout videos, and youth sports league fees. If passed, the bill would allow individuals to use flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) to finance these expenses. Individuals would be granted up to $1,000 in pre-tax dollars to spend on fitness and families would be granted $2,000. 

Additionally, PHIT would: 

  1. Ignite the movement to get more Americans excited about physical activity. Physical inactivity is the cause of one in 10 deaths worldwide. Legislation like PHIT would act as encouragement to get the sedentary population moving and would encourage Americans to be more involved in daily physical activity. 
  2. Save the average family 20-30% on the cost of physical activity expenses. Financial stability is a large factor to consider when deciding to participate in any kind of activity. If membership costs for joining a health club are lowered, one of the barriers to becoming a member is also lowered. 
  3. Reduce the amount of healthcare dollars used to treat chronic disease. Since many chronic diseases are linked to lifestyle factors, increasing healthy behaviors such physical activity would help to decrease the prevalence of these same diseases. Under current law, pre-tax medical accounts can only be used to cover specific expenses related to prescriptions or doctor’s visits. However, PHIT would allow individuals to spend money on key preventative measures and not just on medical expenses. 

The bill has gained significant traction with near equal bi-partisan support from Democrats (55) and Republicans (45). 

IHRSA is encouraging the fitness community to reach out to their members of Congress and ask that they participate in the Campaign to Support PHIT.   

In a letter to ILC Members about the great news, Helen Durkin, IHRSA’s executive vice president of public policy said, “I try to keep my ILC emails to a minimum this time of year, but this news was too good not to share.”

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