Source: PHIT America
SILVER SPRING, MD – October 19, 2016 – Millions of U.S. children are not playing middle and high school sports because their parents say they can’t afford it. Based on the results of a recent study by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, nearly 30 percent of parents making less than $60,000 a year indicated that they cannot afford to enroll their child or children in a sport or after-school club activity. For parents with an annual household income of more than $60,000, roughly 12 percent of parents said that they could not enroll their child or children in a sport or after-school club activity for financial reasons.
Leading activity advocate and PHIT America Founder Jim Baugh, always knew the costs of being physically active were an issue, but it is great to see an outlet which makes playing sports less of a financial strain for families.
“Just look at what it costs for a kid to participate on a team or in a league,” says Baugh. “It is not cheap. And, if the child is somewhat gifted, the costs to be a serious participant really get prohibitive for most families. But, there is a solution which would soften the blow for families and individuals.”
What’s the solution to this financial quagmire? Getting the PHIT Act (H.R. 1218/S.2218) passed by the U.S. Congress. The PHIT Act is a joint legislative priority of PHIT America and the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
In layman’s terms, the PHIT Act will give families the chance to afford school sports for their children by allowing them to use their Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) to get reimbursed or to pay for sports equipment purchases, professional instruction, and pay-to-play fees.
“Simply put, the PHIT Act provides a financial incentive for a physically active lifestyle,” continues Baugh. “Americans need and deserve the PHIT Act.”
“Passage of the PHIT Act will make physical activity more affordable for all Americans, especially families,” says Tom Cove, President/CEO, Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
The study did reveal that families are spending more than $300 each school year per child to play sports. Again, by passing the PHIT Act, expenses like pay-for-play fees, equipment expenses, and coaching costs will be reimbursable through HSAs and FSAs.
To voice your support for the PHIT Act to your local Congressman/woman and your state’s two U.S. Senators, please visit PassthePHITAct.org and follow #PassthePHITAct.
Another issue is that while some school waivers help students from low-income homes to play sports, waivers based exclusively on income may fail to reach families who earn too much for program eligibility, but not enough to afford the additional costs of the activity fees. Again, passage of the PHIT Act can turn an unaffordable scenario into an affordable situation.
Expenses eligible for reimbursement under the PHIT Act would also include gym/health club memberships; fitness & exercise classes; sport/activity camps and clinics; youth & adult sports’ registration fees; sports and fitness equipment solely used to participate in a physical activity; instructional lessons and clinics; running & fitness event registration fees; yoga; and other physical activity expenses.
By giving families the chance to afford for their children to play sports and, thereby, become physically active, it helps reduce health care costs, improves academic achievement in the classroom, and helps to reverse the ‘Inactivity Pandemic,’ as nearly 82 million Americans are currently physically inactive.
About PHIT America
Founded in January 2013, PHIT America is a non-profit campaign focused on overcoming the severe ramifications of the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ through three strategic approaches – education, supporting school-based activity programs, and advocating – which will get Americans, especially our youth, more active, fit and healthy.