The Congressional Fitness Caucus teamed up with the #WhyGetActive campaign,a worldwide social media campaign begun by the International Health,Racquet and Sportsclub Association,to encourage fitness.
The event included blood pressure and body composition screenings,videogames like Dance Dance Revolution,seated massages and a light workout. It also highlighted national efforts and policies regarding physical activity,including the Personal Health Investment Today Act.
The bill would allow pre-tax health investment accounts such as a Health Savings Account to pay for sports activities,fitness center dues,payments for some exercise equipment and workout videos. The proposed limits are $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for families.
“It’s expensive to be physically active,” Cameron Jacobs,manager of sponsor relations,research and social media at PHIT America,said. “If you remove that financial barrier,Americans will be getting more active.”
Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death,according to the World Health Organization’s 2004 Global Health Risks data.
According to a 2013 health report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,about 35 percent of adults 20 years and older are obese. Overweight and obese individuals are more likely to develop heart disease,Type 2 diabetes,and hypertension,among other health problems. The yearly medical cost of adult obesity is about $140 billion,much of it due to diabetes.
Childhood obesity is also a problem,which other bills discussed at the event addressed.
The Fitness with Integrated Teaching Kids Act would require the Secretary of Education to award grants to states to implement programs that promote physical activity,fitness and nutrition in schools.
Nearly one in three children and adolescents are either overweight or obese,according to Let’s Move,an initiative launched by first lady Michelle Obama. Physical activity guidelines recommend that children engage in 60 minutes or more of physical activity a day.
Helen Durkin,executive vice president of global public policy at IHRSA,said children who are active are more likely to be active as adults.
“Even if they get away from it,it’s easier to get back in the routine,” Durkin said.
Often,nutrition is the focus when talking about staying healthy,Durkin said,but physical activity needs to be a part of the discussion,too.
“Everyone has to eat,so every time you put something to your mouth,nutrition is at the front of your mind,” she said.
Physical activity isn’t always.
Reach reporter Erin Bell at [email protected] or 202-326-9866. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.