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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How IHRSA is Partnering to Make the World Healthier

by Amy Bantham, IHRSA's vice president of health promotion and health policy

“Networks of cooperation undertaken in good faith by those with a common goal lead to better results.”

These were the words that most resonated with me during former President Bill Clinton’s opening address at the 2017 Partnership for a Healthier America Summit, which took place May 10-12 in Washington, D.C.

I was honored to represent IHRSA and the industry at this event, which brings together public and private sectors with the common goal to end childhood obesity.

Partnership was the theme woven throughout the entire summit. It emerged in a session on Cities Changing Diabetes, where physicians, faith-based organizations, diabetes educators, registered dietitians, and a pharmaceutical company came together to fight diabetes in Houston, TX. And it emerged in the faces of many of IHRSA’s longtime partners who also attended the summit this year, including the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Heart Association (AHA) and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

IHRSA is continually working to position health clubs as a primary solution to the physical inactivity epidemic, and we are getting better results because of our networks of cooperation. The information sharing, the sign on letters, and the co-authored opinion pieces all amplify our voices in our collective fight against physical inactivity and obesity.

While I was in D.C., I also spoke at a Commit to Inclusion event held at the National Press Club. Again, partnership was the predominant theme, as the event announced the launch of the new Partnership for Inclusive Health.

The Partnership comprises organizations—ACSM and National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD)—that IHRSA has worked alongside for years on inclusive fitness through UFIT led by the UNESCO Chair. With the addition of new partners, such as Active Schools and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, the Partnership will, through collaboration, strengthen our individual efforts to inclusivize communities across the United States. 

I spoke on behalf of IHRSA and the IHRSA Foundation about our ACCESS Health Inclusive Fitness pilot programs and was able to showcase the work that IHRSA member clubs—acac, Atlantic Club, ClubFit, and Newtown Athletic Club—are doing to provide programming and services to people living with disabilities. 

I closed my speech (as I will close this post) with a commitment to the Partnership, perhaps not as headline-grabbing as some of the other commitments made during the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit, but meaningful to the industry, our partners, and people living with disabilities.

“IHRSA and the IHRSA Foundation commit to creating inclusive healthy communities by working collaboratively with our partners and our member clubs to achieve a common goal of helping people of all abilities live longer, healthier and more active lives."