The following post is by guest blogger Helen Durkin, JD. Helen is the Executive Vice President of Public Policy for the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA)—a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. She joined IHRSA in 1989 and developed the health club industry’s first government relations and legal service programs. She has served as the association’s director of public policy since 1999. In this leadership capacity, Durkin has succeeded in aligning IHRSA with the national effort to improve America’s health through healthy lifestyle choices and in promoting public policy that recognizes exercise as a key component of preventive health care.
Concerned about health care costs? Consider this: only one of every three adults exercises regularly; one in four does not exercise at all; nearly 40 percent spend the majority of the day sitting; and even though eight out of ten adults recognize the benefits of exercise, only two exercise enough to meet physical activity guidelines. What’s more, chronic diseases—many of which are preventable and related to lifestyle choices—remain the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. It’s no wonder that health care costs continue to soar.
More must be done in health care settings nationwide to address physical activity and exercise if we are to make greater progress in improving America’s health and curbing the cost of health care. And we must put a greater focus on the fundamental practice of prevention—in the form of healthy lifestyle choices.