Fitness Industry Shows Up in Full Force for Capitol Hill Advocacy Event 

More than 100 industry leaders urged members of congress to pass legislation including the Personal Health Investment (PHIT) Act

As the fitness industry continues its fight for a seat at the table in Washington, it’s doing so in bigger numbers than ever before. 

During the Health & Fitness Association’s 2024 Fly-In and Advocacy Summit held earlier this week, 120 industry leaders descended collectively on Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to pass legislation including the Personal Health Investment (PHIT) Act.

The 2024 Fly-In was the first major event staged by the newly named Health & Fitness Association, which rebranded from IHRSA earlier this year in an effort to make its mission more easily understood by the government and the general public. 

Turnout for the 2024 event was double that of the previous two Fly-Ins staged by IHRSA, demonstrating the industry’s growing appetite to fight for legislative issues and the broader reach of the Health & Fitness Association under its new name. 

“For the first time, we came to Capitol Hill for our Fly-In under our new name – the Health & Fitness Association – and we received positive reactions to the change,” said Liz Clark, president and CEO of the Health & Fitness Association. “Most people noted it allowed for more immediate clarity about who we are. And we were here under that name in full force with 120 members of the industry meeting with 130 members of Congress or their staff.”

On Wednesday, industry leaders representing clubs, studios and suppliers split up into small groups and met with their state’s members of the House of Representatives and Senate and their staff. The conversations were meant to encourage support for the PHIT Act and other beneficial legislation. 

If passed, the PHIT Act would allow Americans to use pre-tax dollars on things like gym memberships, fitness equipment and youth sports. 

More specifically, the bill would amend the IRS code to treat physical activity as preventive health care covered by flexible spending accounts (FSA) and health savings accounts (HSA), similar to items such as glasses and wellness-related over-the-counter products. It would allow a medical care tax deduction of up to $1,000 per year for qualified sports and fitness expenses ($2,000 for a joint return or head of household).

“The majority of the conversations revolved around co-sponsoring the PHIT Act, but we also asked for their support of our (National Defense Authorization Act) request to help the armed services, support of an act to improve Good Samaritan Laws around the use of (Automated External Defibrillators), and joining the House and Senate health and wellness caucuses,” Clark said.

On Tuesday, the Health & Fitness Association held meetings to brief members on the next day’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill (credit: Health & Fitness Association)

While Wednesday’s meetings were primarily designed to advocate for the passage of legislation, they also went toward the general goal of creating more awareness of the fitness industry’s importance to the U.S. economy and Americans’ physical and mental health. 

Earlier this week, the Health & Fitness Association released a study showing that private U.S. health clubs and studios have a $22.4 billion impact on the American economy. Key data points from that report were presented to members of Congress and their staff on Wednesday. 

Fly-In attendees also spoke to House and Senate members about why health and fitness activities like going to the gym and playing sports are essential to combatting the growing youth mental health crisis in America. 

The 2024 Fly-In and Advocacy Summit was sponsored by industry leaders including ABC Fitness, ALTA Technology Group, ClubConnect, Daxko, DX Factor, EGYM, FitOn Health, Junk Brands, Matrix Fitness, Myzone, NASM/AFAA, ROR Partners, Studio Grow, Technogym, Tivity Health, Wellhub (formerly Gympass) and WellnessSpace Brands.

Industry leaders hope this week’s event is just the beginning of a larger effort to get health and fitness businesses more recognition from legislators in Washington and in statehouses across the country. 

The Health & Fitness Association’s next Fly-In and Advocacy Summit is scheduled for May 2025.

“We look forward to returning next year and continuing to build relationships that will pay off in the short and long term for the business operators who attend and for the industry overall,” Clark said. 

The post Fitness Industry Shows Up in Full Force for Capitol Hill Advocacy Event  appeared first on Athletech News.


您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。 必填项已用 * 标注