PHIT Act Aims to Tackle Youth Inactivity

By Matt Swenson, November 15, 2016

The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act may be one piece of legislation the divided United States can agree upon. At its core, the bill would give families a financial incentive to put aside money to have their children play sports, exercise and be healthy. The catch: The PHIT Act requires Congress to end years of inactivity to become a law.

“The biggest issue we face in our industry and what we believe in our country is physical inactivity,” says Tom Cove, president and CEO of Sports & Fitness Industry Association, one of the PHIT Act’s champions. “The great part is inactivity is addressed by activity.”

How dire is the issue? SFIA says 35 million American children are classified as not active to healthy standards. About 12 million of those youth are totally inactive. Cove says a variety of factors, including economics, lack of physical education and youth specializing in one sport, are to blame for the crisis.

The PHIT Act would address at least one of those issues. Namely, it would allow families to set aside up to $2,000 tax-free on expenses related to sports, exercise and/or general activity. SFIA cites studies showing two in five Americans would be more physically active with a financial incentive.

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