Why is PHIT Important?
64% of American adults and 34% of American children suffer from overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity. These rising rates of obesity and Americans’ proclivity for inactivity are resulting in double digit annual increases in healthcare costs to the government and business.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that healthcare costs directly associated with inactivity were $76.6 billion in 2000; roughly one-third of those costs ($25 billion) fall directly on U.S. taxpayers since approximately one in three Americans is covered by a taxpayer-funded health plan.
The PHIT Act would help to reverse the trend of increasing physical inactivity and obesity by eliminating a federal policy barrier and providing an important tax incentive to promote exercise.
Public health experts agree that regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk and symptoms of numerous chronic diseases and medical conditions, resulting in fewer hospitalizations, physician visits, medications and lower healthcare costs.
Under the current set-up, Americans predominantly use pre-tax accounts to pay for treatment and detection of illnesses: prescription drugs, doctor visits, examinations and screenings.
Depending upon their income tax bracket, the PHIT Act could help Americans save 20-30% on the cost of physical activities, exercise programs and related expenses.
The PHIT Act tax incentive represents an important tangible benefit that the federal government can provide to promote healthier lifestyles and reverse the rising costs of treating obesity-related chronic diseases.