Fitness industry pushes prevention agenda

The fitness industry wrapped up two days of lobbying with calls to support several bills that promote preventive health. The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association was on Capitol Hill as part of the ninth annual Summit for a Healthier America.

"The widespread practice of primary prevention is critical to public health and our country's future economic competitiveness," IHRSA President and CEO Joe Moore said in a statement. "It's time that our lawmakers fully recognize the valuable and central role that primary prevention can play in creating a healthier America. We are asking them to actively promote public policies and legislation that support primary prevention and personal responsibility — and that remove barriers to healthy lifestyle choices."

The association is supporting legislation that would:

Amend the No Child Left Behind Act to increase students' physical activity;

• Fund physical education through the Department of Education;

Allow Americans to use their tax-favored accounts (such as Flexible Spending Accounts) to engage in physical activity;

Allow employers to deduct the cost of benefits linked to off-site exercise facilities; and

• Require the government to periodically publish the latest research on the benefits of physical activity.