Industry Watch

IHRSA Industry Watch provides information and insight on how public policy issues affect not only the health club industry, but your bottom line. You 'll learn about efforts to protect the industry, incentivize exercise participation, and promote health clubs as a major part of the solution to the inactivity epidemic. You’ll also find information on pressing industry issues, industry leaders and leadership opportunities, legislative threats and opportunities, state updates, health promotion opportunities, current events and more. 

For even more timely relevant news about advocacy issues affecting the club industry, subscribe to Capitol Report.

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Fitness Tax Proposal Advances in PA Senate

Legislative Alert: With the clock ticking on the Pennsylvania legislature's 2014 session, state lawmakers continue to give serious consideration to imposing a sales tax on health club services. 
Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Senate Finance Committee voted to advance Senate Bill 76 (SB 76), which finances an elimination of the state's property tax, in part, by expanding the list of services subject to the sales tax. The amended version of that list includes services provided by "fitness and recreational sports centers."
The bill still must pass a full vote in the Senate before being considered in the House (where an identical proposal has previously failed to gain support). And while there is limited time remaining for SB 76 to clear the remaining legislative hurdles, our industry must continue to speak loudly against the bill while it advances toward enactment.
IHRSA is working with its lobbyist in Harrisburg to voice the industry's opposition to the tax and educate legislators on the harmful impact that taxing fitness would have on the physical and fiscal health of the commonwealth. The industry's lobbying efforts will be significantly strengthened by the involvement of health club owners and operators located throughout Pennsylvania.

IHRSA Members should be on the lookout for another Legislative Alert prompting you to take action.


Blog Post: The Power of Wearables

To showcase the contributions that IHRSA members make to America's health to policymakers and other "activity-minded" organizations, IHRSA regularly blogs on "Be Active Your Way", the official blog of the Health and Human Services Department. 

The blog is designed to encourage healthy, active lifestyles for all Americans, and IHRSA, of course, serves as the voice of health clubs in this effort.

This month, IHRSA explores the power of wearable technology and it's potential to use social behavior to turn the tide against the populations' sedentary nature.

See the blog post on the "Be Active Your Way" blog, and see prior blog posts and other compelling IHRSA Commentaries.


EU Says More Docs Should be Prescribing Exercise

Doctor-recommended physical activity is gaining greater visibility on the world stage.

At conference held last week on behalf of HEPA, the EU body in charge of promoting health-enhancing physical activity, attendees concluded that, "physical activity must be promoted more in health care settings."

In the WHO European Region alone, one million deaths per year (about 10% of the total) are estimated to be attributable to physical inactivity. Health care solutions include education reform and active workplace support for health care professionals; guided prescriptions of physical activity for patients, and the design of health care facilities to have both indoor and outdoor healing environments.

These were among the conclusions drawn at the 10th Annual Meeting and 5th Conference of HEPA Europe, the European Network for the promotion of Health-Enhancing Physical Activity, held in Zurich, Switzerland, from 27–29 August 2014. The event was hosted by the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine of the University of Zurich, with support from the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, and was attended by over 220 participants from the European region, as well as North America, Japan and Australia.

This HEPA Europe event featured best practices, research and policies under the theme of “Physical activity promotion in health care settings”. Attendees also said such reforms should include better training of doctors on the benefits of exercise, more prescriptions for physical activity, and establishing more indoor and outdoor facilities for physical activity.

Read the full press release...


Advocacy: If We Don’t Do It, Who Will?

Advocacy is one of the most important activities that you and other health club operators can possibly engage in. There's a tremendous need to demonstrate that clubs have a positive impact on the nation's health, and should be protected from punitive legislation.

In June, for example, the city council in Washington, D.C., approved a 5.75% sales tax on health clubs, yoga studios, and a mumber of other service providers to raise revenue, while reducing income tax rates (see “Washington, D.C., Council,” September 2014 CBI pg. 20).

IHRSA and a number of its member clubs were on the front lines, opposing the tax, but, despite their concerted campaign, the bill was approved by a vote of 9 to 4.

While the industry’s advocates won’t always win, it’s important for us to remain vigilant and to keep up the effort, and when we lose, we should fight even harder.

Still, many club operators don’t participate in industry advocacy for a variety of reasons. They may feel that they’re too busy, or think that the issues involved don’t really affect them. In reality, however, advocacy is definitely something they should make time for.

Read full article

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Keep the #WhyGetActive Momentum Going

In June, #WhyGetActive set new records for tweets, likes, and impressions, and IHRSA needs your help to keep the #WhyGetActive ball rolling. There are numerous, easy ways for you to get involved. Here are a few:

  1. Share why you get active (e.g. "to keep up with my kids") using the #WhyGetActive hashtag on all your social networks, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  2. Promote the hashtag on your club's social media networks to encourage your members to share their reasons for exercising.
  3. Include the #WhyGetActive hashtag when you share articles on the benefits of exercise.

#WhyGetActive is a social media movement to get people more physically active by tapping into the many reasons people have for staying healthy. Learn more at To see what others are saying, visit



Representative Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma whips fellow House members into shape

In an article titled, "Sweating Out Their Differences," the New York Times offers an inside look at what may be one of the few remaining bipartisan ventures in Congress: getting in a good workout.
Read the full article...


Two health club operators speak out against new DC sales tax

Ori Gorefine, chief operating officer, and Mark Crick, chief executive officer, of Balance Gym in Washington, D.C. have penned a compelling op-ed for the Washington Post on the demerits of the recently enacted 5.75% sales tax on D.C. health and fitness centers.
Read the full op-ed on the Washington Post...


Successful day in DC for #WhyGetActive

Two weeks ago, the Congressional Fitness Caucus-a volunteer committee of members of Congress who want to promote physical fitness-alongside IHRSA as lead sponsor, hosted an event on Capitol Hill to promote the #WhyGetActive campaign, and physical activity legislation. It was an especially successful day for the #WhyGetActive campaign, as activity soared on social media. During the event, #WhyGetActive tweets reached over 71,000 users and were delivered to twitter timelines over 194,000 times.



IHRSA VP urges policy makers to encourage women to exercise

In response to the recent news that breast cancer patients are not getting enough exercise, Helen Durkin, executive vice president of public policy at IHRSA, took to one of the top Congressional news outlets, Roll Call, to examine the broader issue of women's exercise habits, and to urge lawmakers to help more women be physically active.
Read the op-ed piece here on



Joe Moore and Dr. Eddie Phillips on HuffPo op-ed: Exercise is Medicine

IHRSA's president and CEO, Joe Moore, teamed up with Dr. Eddie Phillips, founder of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine in Boston, to write a compelling blog post for the Huffington Post on "the most cost-effective and potent treatment we know." They are talking about exercise, of course.
Read the blog on the Huffington Post...