IHRSA Applauds Introduction of Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act of 2011

Boston, Massachusetts (PRWEB) August 01, 2011

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) announced today its enthusiastic support of the recently re-introduced Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act of 2011 (H.R. 2649)—lauding the legislation as an important component in promoting primary prevention as a means of controlling America’s health care costs. Roughly $ 76.6 billion are spent each year on health care costs directly associated with inactivity. The PHIT Act would eliminate an existing federal policy barrier to exercise and create a health-promoting financial incentive for Americans to engage in physical fitness.

The PHIT Act allows for expenditures of up to $ 2,000 for physical fitness programs and exercise equipment to be payable out of pre-tax health investment accounts such as flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and/or medical reimbursement arrangements. Currently, these accounts are set up so individuals can pay for prescription drugs and doctor visits with pre-tax dollars. But there currently is no preventive component that supports health-preserving lifestyle practices.

“The PHIT Act helps put the focus on primary prevention,” says Joe Moore, IHRSA’s President and CEO. “It supports Americans in their efforts to engage in healthy physical activity, which will go far in deterring preventable chronic diseases that are driving up our country’s health care costs.”

Health-promoting activities, such as health club memberships, youth sports programs, pilates and yoga classes, home exercise equipment, and other fees associated with programs of physical activity, would to be paid with pre-tax dollars if the PHIT Act is passed into law. The legislation, however, would not increase the total contribution limits to those pre-tax accounts.

The PHIT Act was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives of the 112th Congress by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX), with strong bi-partisan support from Congressmen Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Ron Kind (D-WI), Bill Shuster (R-PA), Mike McIntrye (D-NC), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Ron Paul (R-TX), C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersburger (D-MD), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), and Joe Barton (R-TX).

“We commend Congressman Brady and the bill’s co-sponsors and supporters for their leadership in creating a healthier, more prosperous America,” says Moore. “The PHIT Act is an important step in putting America’s physical and fiscal health back on track.”


IHRSA is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA is committed to taking a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to America’s health and the battle against obesity and disease. IHRSA supports effective national initiatives to promote more active lifestyles for all Americans and is working to pass laws that will help affect societal changes toward a more fit America.

IHRSA is a co-chair of the Business and Industry Sector of the National Physical Activity Plan; a member of the advisory board of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD); a founding member of the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA); a partner with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in promoting the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines; a network member of the Exercise is Medicine™ initiative; was a primary participant in the launch of the Adult Fitness Test introduced by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; has helped the HHS Office on Women’s Health in promoting National Women’s Health Week, National Women’s Check-Up Day, and the Woman Challenge; partnered with the President’s Council in 1995 on the three-year “Get Up, Get Out” public awareness campaign focusing on youth fitness; was one of the earliest proponents of the PEP legislation (Carol M. White Physical Education Program); and recently introduced the publication, “The Economic Benefits of Regular Exercise.” Through its member clubs, IHRSA has offered community outreach and health promotion programs since 1986, including Commit to Get Fit, Families Involved Together, Teen Fitness Connection, I Lost It at the Club!, and Get Active America!

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