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Monday, March 18, 2013

Ask Your Representatives to Support PEP Grants and the PHIT Act

Oh, Congress... If you're not failing to agree on a budget or inflicting automatic spending cuts, you're scrambling to avoid a full-scale government shutdown. It's no wonder your approval rating is an abysmal 13%.

While Congress figures out how (or whether) to pay its bills, I'd like to highlight a few things that our representatives should be doing to promote wellness -- and what you can do to help.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily for kids age 6 to 17, yet nearly half of high schools have no physical education at all. Shockingly, the average P.E. budget for schools in this country is a measly $764 per year. That's why the Physical Activity Program (PEP) Grant program is so crucial. Since 2001, more than a thousand schools have received grants to enhance their physical education programs. We need to keep this program going strong.

Another measure that deserves our support is the PHIT Act (H.R. 956), a bipartisan House bill that would impact Health Savings and Flexible Spending Accounts. Right now, HSAs and FSAs allow individuals to set aside tax-free money for specific healthcare expenses. The PHIT Act would change the rules to cover a broader range of healthy activities: gym memberships, sports registration fees for children, and more. And because overall HSA/FSA contribution limits would not change, the impact to the federal budget would be minimal.

So what can you do? Visit the PHIT America website today and ask your representatives to make wellness a priority.

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