It’s Time to Reverse Sedentary Lifestyles
Life Fitness wants to inspire Americans to lead active, healthy lifestyles. This week, we rallied for that cause in Washington, D.C., at SFIA’s National Health Through Fitness Day as Congress prepares to consider two pieces of legislation: the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act and the Physical Education Program (PEP) Act. Both are committed to reversing the effects of inactivity on the American culture, and overcoming the obesity crisis.
At Life Fitness, we’re putting our full support behind these initiatives, and here’s why:
80 million Americans lead what are called totally sedentary lifestyles — meaning they have not been active once in the last year. This number of totally sedentary people is growing, and so are the negative effects of inactivity. Inactive adults pay $1,500 more each year for healthcare than active adults, and they take a week more off work because of sickness than active adults. As a country and an industry, we have an obligation to do something about this problem while the opportunity is here.
Americans spend $1 in every $5 on medical expenses. That’s $4 trillion in total. And much of that money comes through programs like Medicare. The PHIT initiative calls for physical activity expenses to be reimbursed using money in pretax medical accounts — meaning it would allow people to use that money for activities that promote wellness, such as health club memberships, fitness classes, and sports activity fees for youths and adults. We shouldn’t only be spending money on treating the effects of inactivity, but using it to prevent the causes.
Changing these behaviors starts with the children. The average school budget for P.E. is a nominal $764 per year. And, 48 percent of high schools in the U.S. have no P.E. PEP, a 13-year-old program for rebuilding and keeping physical education in schools, is given grants from the Department of Education to give to local schools and community-based programs. PEP’s leadership in spurring physical activity is being curtailed by national and congressional budget concerns.
That’s why we’re asking you to join Life Fitness in supporting these two pieces of legislation that are vital to our industry and the health of Americans. Sign up here to help fight against the inactivity epidemic: http://www.phitamerica.org/advocate.