The PHIT Act: Federal Legislation That Benefits Yogis and All Americans
Last Updated: February 7, 2018
The U.S. is experiencing a sedentary and obesity crisis across the country. Here are just a few of the staggering statistics:
- According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is the 4th leading cause of death.
- The CDC director reports that “physical activity is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug.”
- Congressional findings reveal that the U.S. “ranks last in the world in reducing the number of preventable deaths resulting from obesity-related chronic illnesses,” with nearly one-fifth of American children ages 2 to 19 categorized as overweight or obese.
- Research is pouring in that indicates that physical inactivity affects the brain and our ability to learn – our future generations are at risk.
What is the PHIT Act?
The “Personal Health Investment Today Act,” or PHIT Act, is a bill currently in Congress aimed at helping to reduce the obesity epidemic through physical fitness.
The PHIT Act would allow taxpayers to place up to $1,000 for individuals (or $2,000 for a joint return or head of household) in pre-tax medical accounts (such as HSAs and FSAs) annually. These funds could be used to pay for physical activity expenses, including yoga-related expenses.
How does it benefit the yoga community?
The Bill will give more Americans a reason to improve their health through physical activity.
Under the proposed Act, yoga classes, studio memberships, teacher training programs, some continuing education, and certain equipment (like mats, blocks, straps) would qualify as tax-deductible medical expenses. By making yoga more affordable in this way, the yoga community will see:
- More yoga practitioners in their classes
- Improved access to yoga teacher training programs
- Greater diversity in yoga
- More people seeking a healthy lifestyle physically, mentally, and spiritually
How is Yoga Alliance involved?
Everyone can get behind helping people become more active and healthy. Plus, the components of a healthy lifestyle directly relate to the core principles of yoga.
Yoga Alliance joined the PHIT Act Coalition to help support this important legislation. The PHIT Act Coalition is a group of organizations that includes leaders in the fitness, sports, medical, and youth wellness communities.
We’ll be providing our members with updates on this legislation as it progresses. Additionally, we’ll be sharing opportunities for you to show your support and advocate on behalf of the bill.
What can I do to help?
Ready to take action? Here are some ways you can help get the PHIT Act passed: