PHIT Act - bipartisan tax relief for a stronger, healthier America

America is fueled by productivity, ingenuity and leadership – traits that remain a historic foundation of our country. Without a physically healthy population, these renowned qualities become endangered. Each day, more of our nation’s children fall into the dual epidemics of obesity and inactivity. Our future entrepreneurs, leaders, inventors and builders of a better America will be subject to the crushing weight of chronic health problems if we don’t make policy changes now that make leading active, healthy lifestyles affordable and accessible.

Overwhelmingly, studies show that physical activity plays an important role in preventing and managing chronic diseases—the same diseases that are responsible for 86 percent of our national healthcare costs. Healthcare policies consider physical activity expenses a luxury, but exercise is just as vital to preventing chronic disease as medicines are to treating illness.

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It’s a sad reality that choosing healthy options in today’s world comes with a significantly higher price tag than it has in the past for a growing number of Americans. The Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT-H.R.1218/S.2218), has the potential to make a healthy and active lifestyle more affordable for many families and individuals.

PHIT would allow many types of physical activity to be considered qualified medical expenses, finally acknowledging the necessity of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle and one of the key aspects of the solution to our country’s obesity epidemic. By allowing Americans to use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for organized physical activity, more families would have affordable access to activities such as recreational and competitive youth and adult sports, swimming lessons, dance classes, gym memberships, personal trainers and much more.

If passed, PHIT could lower the financial barrier to healthy physical-activity programs and serve as a major stepping-stone in the journey to transform the current view of physical movement from the perception that it is a hobby to the reality-physical activity is a basic human need, necessary for a healthy body and mind.

The PHIT Act offers policymakers an avenue to help individuals and families make physical activity more accessible and affordable, all while capitalizing on existing structures. More than 100 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have pledged their support for PHIT. It is our hope and vision that Congress will recognize the necessity of the PHIT Act and pass it in the 114th Congress.

American Council on Exercise CEO & President Scott Goudeseune. For more information, please contact advocacy@acefitness.org


The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.