Source: IHRSAApril 8, 2013: Boston, MA - Health club operators and fitness industry professionals will gather in Washington, DC this May to urge Congress to support policies that would make it easier for Americans to adopt physically active lifestyles, as part of the 11th Annual Summit for a Healthier America. The Summit, hosted by IHRSA, The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association will take place on May 14 & 15. On Tuesday, May 14, Summit attendees will explore the entrepreneurial ways health clubs can fight the inactivity epidemic and positively transform the health and prosperity of our country. Then on Wednesday, May 15, attendees will urge Congress to support primary prevention as one of the most effective means of addressing the country's out-of-control rates of inactivity, obesity and chronic disease. Primary prevention - the deterrence of disease before it occurs by engaging in beneficial lifestyle behaviors, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and stress management - is critical to public health and our country's future economic competitiveness. Primary prevention saves lives, encourages increased individual responsibility, increases worker productivity, and lowers federal health care expenditures. "Health club operators are ideal for advocacy. We are passionate and dedicated to the health of our communities. Having witnessed the positive life-changing effects of exercise, we cannot help but be motivated to share what we see and know with lawmakers to truly make a difference in our country's health and prosperity," said Joe Moore, IHRSA President and CEO. Attendees of the upcoming Summit include health club owners and operators, fitness professionals, certifying agencies and fitness equipment manufacturers. "We are looking forward to working with all types of health club operators and fitness industry leaders over this two-day summit. The conversations that happen on the first day will directly affect our industry's efforts to solve the inactivity crisis," said Helen Durkin, IHRSA's Executive Vice President of Public Policy. "And the advocacy we do on Capitol Hill on the second day is empowering. It is imperative that lawmakers support primary prevention and healthy lifestyle choices. Our members make truly fantastic advocates for our country's health," added Durkin.The 11th Annual Summit for a Healthier America is proudly sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Registration is free for IHRSA member health clubs. Visit our ihrsa.org/summit to learn more. About IHRSAIHRSA is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA is committed to taking a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to America's health and the battle against obesity and disease. IHRSA supports affective national initiatives to promote more active lifestyles for all Americans and is working to pass laws that will help affect societal changes toward a healthier, more prosperous America. Find an IHRSA club at healthclubs.com. About Health Clubs and the Inactivity CrisisThe United States has an inactivity problem. Health clubs are uniquely suited to provide a solution. As more Americans suffer from chronic diseases, and health care costs continue to skyrocket, health clubs are actively involved in the effort to prevent disease and unhealthy lifestyles. Health club operators and their staff have the passion to help their communities be more active, and the skills and knowledge to guide their communities' members from poor health, inactivity and obesity to a vibrant, energetic, and healthy lifestyle. About the Bills the Summit for a Healthier America Supports:The Workforce Health Improvement Program (WHIP)The Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT)The Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act (FIT Kids Act)The Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP)The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Act

About Primary PreventionSince the late 1980s, roughly two-thirds of the increase in U.S. health care spending has been due to the increased prevalence of treated chronic disease. A greater emphasis on primary prevention would significantly reduce the annual cost of treating chronic disease (currently $1.5 trillion) in the United States.

Chronic medical conditions associated with modifiable risk factors (smoking, nutrition, weight, and physical activity) represented 6 of the 10 costliest medical conditions in the United States with a combined medical care expenditure of $338 billion in 2008 (according to a report entitled, "For the Public's Health: Investing in a Healthier Future")According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, primary prevention may prevent 80% of heart disease and stroke, 80% of type 2 diabetes, and 40% of cancer.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.