I am proud to be an ambassador for the PHIT America Act and PEP, which are two separate pieces of legislation on the table in Washington D.C. that will help us become a more fit and healthy America! So, what are the Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT Act) and the Physical Education Program (PEP)?
The PHIT Act is legislation currently pending in Congress which will allow Americans to use Pre-Tax Medical Accounts to pay for physical activity expenses. Hopefully by doing this, the PHIT Act would encourage healthier lifestyles by reducing the costs of physical activity and provide an incentive for getting off the couch. The PHIT Act would allow you to contribute up to $2000 per year to an existing pre-tax medical account which could then be used for reimbursement of expenses relating to physical activity, such as the cost of gym memberships, personal training sessions, or even sports program fees for yourself and your kids. By becoming more physically active, we can prevent many of the lifestyle related diseases from occurring, saving us all money and needless suffering. You can find more info here.
The PEP Program was first passed in 2001 to provide federal grants directly to schools to help fund physical education programs. These grants help pay for equipment, technology, and training of staff to improve the quality of PE programs in schools. Research shows that kids who have regular PE in schools tend to be more active outside of school too, which helps reduce health care costs down the line. Currently, fewer than half of American schools have PE, primarily because it’s the first thing to get cut when the budget is tight. This vitally important federal program is currently threatened because of the national debt crisis, and it is the only source of funding in the entire Dept. of Education that schools currently receive for PE programs. Penny wise, but pound foolish when you consider the cost of health care and the rising obesity rates in American children. Some of the benefits of having more fit and healthy children participating in regular PE programs can be found here.
I believe that preventing health problems from occurring in the first place is far more cost effective than trying to manage disease symptoms after they start, and that physical activity can be a wonder drug in this regard. If you agree and would like to see either or both of these programs in your future, you can easily find and contact your members of Congress to show your support here. I did it myself – only took about 15 seconds.