Today’s youth are struggling against obesity and inactivity. According to the Center for Disease Control, 34% of American children suffer from overweight, obesity and physical inactivity. It is estimated that the direct medical costs associated with physical inactivity were $76.6 billion in 2000. The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act – House Resolution 245 – would help to reverse this trend by eliminating a federal policy barrier and providing an important tax incentive to promote exercise.
The PHIT Bill encourages increased physical activity opportunities for youth by easing the financial burden of being physically active. Specifically, the PHIT Bill would allow Americans to invest up to $1,000 annually from their tax-favored accounts (flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), medical savings accounts (MSAs) and/or medical reimbursement arrangements) to make expenditures related to organized individual and team sports, fitness and exercise, recreation and other physical activities. Depending on the consumer’s individual income tax bracket, PHIT would save Americans 15-45% on fitness-related costs because they wouldn’t be paid for with taxable income.
This tax incentive represents an important tangible benefit that the federal government can provide to promote healthier lifestyles and reverse the rising costs of treating obesity-related chronic diseases. According to the Surgeon General, “The fastest-growing cause of illness and death in America today is obesity. If we don’t do something about this, especially among our children, we will be a morbidly obese dysfunctional population…” Fitness-related tax incentives would help Americans make an important first step toward reversing their sedentary lifestyles and lowering healthcare costs.
In sum, the PHIT Bill encourages healthy, active lifestyles amony youth by:
You can help make a difference in the health of our youth by sending a letter to your representative in support of the PHIT Bill. You can find guidelines for writing your message at the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association or The International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association.
Additionally, bookmark this page to stay abreast of the Bill’s status below: