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Thursday, September 11, 2014

More Costs of Obesity and Inactivity

The exercise habit starts young!


It's no secret that inactivity and obesity go hand in hand just like obesity and diabetes or obesity and heart disease, or obesity and sleep apnea......on and on. The article below claims that in the United States we spend over $190 billion annually on on obesity related medical expenses. Is it any wonder that insurance rates are so high? The saddest fact is that it is almost entirely preventable. But, as the article points out, we are heading in the wrong direction with more and more of our youngsters growing up with an inactive lifestyle. This is especially frustrating when the politicians try to fix our public education system by requiring more and more seat time and cutting more and more physical activity classes. It's too bad that kids are not more active at home, but in this economy of both parents working for wages, too many kids grow up with a television as a babysitter.
Can you imagine the future if these trends continue? It's amazing to me that a government incentive program to encourage some movement is being considered. It seems we really have a problem when you have to pay people to act in their own best interest instead of self-destructing. When are we going to start paying people to not smoke or drink? Anyway, time will show how well this all works out.
If you are reading this, you are probably a physically active warrior type. Please do your part to stand up for and encourage physical strength and activity, especially with our children. Be a role model and an encourager. Show them that physical activity is it's own reward. Our future and their's depends on it.

The inactivity and obesity epidemic is upon us. A recent study by Sports Marketing Surveys, Inc., shows the percentage of Americans who are totally sedentary increased from 25 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2012 with the largest increase in inactivity being among children. This number is projected to balloon to more than 31 percent by 2018 and will represent a painful $28 billion reduction in sports and fitness retail consumption alone. Add this to the more than $190 billion already spent annually in the United States on obesity-related medical expenses and it is clear this is an issue we can no longer ignore.

Researchers from Stanford recently released a study that suggests this inactivity trend has developed over the past two decades. Through an analysis of national health surveys from 1988 to 2010, they found that while there was no significant change in the overall number of calories consumed, there were huge increases in both obesity and inactivity rates.

Now is the time for the sports industry work to reverse these dangerous and expensive trends. In order to make an impact on a national level, Americans must be encouraged to support two key pieces of legislation that combat the sedentary crisis: the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act and the PEP Program.

The PHIT Act would allow Americans to use pre-tax medical accounts for physical activity expenses, such as health club memberships and dues for youth and adult sports leagues. This would give Americans a direct financial incentive to get off the couch and be active.

The PHIT Act bill was scored this month by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, which estimated that if the initiative was passed, Americans would invest approximately $2.5 billion in activity-related expenses over the next 10 years. The bill currently has broad bipartisan support with 22 Republican and 21 Democrat co-sponsors.

For the last 13 years, the PEP Program has been awarding millions of dollars in grants from the U.S Department of Education to schools and community organizations working to rebuild our physical education (PE) curriculum. Grants are utilized for equipment, support and training teachers and staff. PEP has spawned a “new PE,” in which new technologies such as heart-rate monitors and activity trackers are used to encourage healthy habits and spark a lifelong commitment to fitness.

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Jim Baugh is a Sporting Goods Hall of Fame inductee and a 40 year industry veteran. In 2013 he founded PHIT America, a non-profit advocacy organization focused on overcoming the inactivity pandemic and creating a “Movement for a Fit & Healthy America.”


Here's the future unless we do something about it!

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