IHRSA believes that any effort to rebuild America’s health and redesign the health system must include physical activity as a central and constant component. Regular physical activity, as a core component of prevention and health promotion will lead to a healthier, happier and more productive America, while reigning in sky rocketing health care costs.
Changing the course of America’s health, requires the commitment of the government, employers, medical and public health professionals, insurance providers, schools, and each of us individually. Together, we must work together to create a culture and environment of wellness and to encourage Americans of all ages and physical conditions to exercise regularly as part of a healthy lifestyle.
- The Workforce Health Improvement Program (WHIP) Act: Under current tax law, employers are permitted to deduct the cost of onsite exercise facilities. However, if an employer provides this same benefit at an offsite facility, it cannot take advantage of the tax deduction and employees who use the benefit must pay income tax on the value of the subsidy. The WHIP Act would correct this inequity.
- The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act: The PHIT Act would make it easier for Americans to join a gym. Specifically, it would allow individuals to pay for gym memberships, fitness equipment, exercise videos and youth sports league fees with dollars from pre-tax accounts, like health savings accounts (HSAs).
- The Physical Activity Guidelines Act: This bill mandates a regular review of the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. A regular review would ensure that the guidelines are in line with the most up-to-date, reliable scientific and medical research on the benefits of physical activity. It would also send a strong message about the importance of regular physical activity to good health. It was introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS).
- The Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids (FIT Kids) Act: This legislation would strengthen physical education programs throughout the country by providing grants to schools across the country to implement physical education programs. The bill would also require educational agencies to monitor and report on the amount of time students spend engaging in physical activity and education compared to national standards endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Promoting Health for Youth Skills in Classrooms and Life (PHYSICAL) Act: The PHYSICAL Act would classify health and PE as "core" subjects, like art and geography, under federal law. As such, they would be eligible for federal education funding and support.