With summer winding down and back to school right around the corner, it’s time to begin the age old routine of signing our children up for sports and activities that keep them busy and physically active.
For the parents of previous generations this task proved much easier. Gone are the days when kids came home from school, hopped on their bike and headed to the playground or park to meet up with friends and just play. Today there is an alarmingly low rate of casual play. As a result parents not only plan around their children’s activities but also pay for youth activity.
It’s critical that kids be active for many reasons but the two most important reasons our health and social development. Participating in activities at a young age helps increase social development at a quicker rate, it encourages teamwork and offers an opportunity to enhance leadership skills. Equally important are the lifelong health benefits realized through activity.
Unfortunately, today’s generation of children are the least active generation every. A Robert Woods Johnson study found that inactive children are more likely to become inactive parents who are then become six times more likely to have inactive children. This sedentary trend is dangerous and will lead to an increase in preventable chronic conditions which will drive our healthcare costs through the roof.
To make matters worse, a 2010 BioMed study identified cost as the biggest barrier in youth activity. Children should not be denied the opportunity to be active due to cost as parents struggle with family budgets.
Fear not, for there is help for families on the horizon. The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act is legislation pending before Congress to make physical activity tax free. Specifically, PHIT would allow parents to use funds in pre-tax medical accounts to pay for activity expenses. Youth sports & activities, camps & clinics, equipment, gym memberships & fitness classes, yoga and personal trainers are examples of activity expenses covered under the PHIT Act.
PHIT is the common sense approach to giving consumers help with active lifestyle costs. At a time when partisan politics is at an all-time high, the PHIT Act enjoys support from 100 Members of Congress split almost evenly between Democrats (55) and Republicans (45). Help make the PHIT Act a reality, send a message to Congress asking for their support at http://www.phitamerica.org/Advocate.htm