The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act

Federal Legislation Incentivizing Physical Activity

The Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act will allow Americans to use pre-tax dollars—flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs)—to pay for health club memberships, fitness equipment, exercise videos, and youth sports leagues.

Physical Activity is Essential for a Healthy America

In 2018, the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act passed the House of Representatives for the first time, but Congress adjourned before the Senate could vote. Since then, the Health & Fitness Association and industry leaders have worked tirelessly, alongside numerous members of Congress, to build support for PHIT.

On March 14, 2023, Representative Mike Kelly [R-PA] and Senator John Thune [R-SD] reintroduced PHIT in the House (H.R. 1582) and Senate (S. 786).

PHIT will allow flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) to pay for health club memberships, fitness equipment, exercise videos, and youth sports leagues. If passed, PHIT would enable individuals to use up to $1,000 per year—up to $2,000 for families—to cover physical activity-related expenses.

Physical activity is essential for physical and mental health. Of the millions of active consumers in the U.S., 2 in 5 say they exercise to support their mental health and well-being. According to the CDC, a lack of sufficient physical activity can lead to heart disease and increase the likelihood of developing other chronic medical issues—including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, even for people who have no other risk factors.

The PHIT Act will play an important role in getting more Americans up and active by lowering the cost of physical activity through tax incentives. PHIT continues to gain bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Visit the House PHIT page and the Senate PHIT page for the latest information on Congress members who support increasing physical activity.

4 Reasons to Support the PHIT Act

  1. SAVINGS: PHIT could help Americans save 20-30% on yearly expenses related to physical activity. By increasing physical activity, reducing smoking and obesity, and improving treatment rates, $116 billion could be saved yearly.
  2. PREVENT & REDUCE CHRONIC DISEASES: Physical activity is a cost-effective way to prevent and reduce chronic diseases, which account for approximately 86% of nationwide healthcare costs.
  3. HELP YOUR KIDS SUCCEED: Kids and adolescents who exercise regularly experience less anxiety and stress, have healthier bones and muscles, better self-esteem, and are less likely to be obese—which could save them up to $19,000 in lifetime medical costs.
  4. THINK BETTER, FEEL BETTER: Physical activity can help prevent depression and be an effective treatment comparable to pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy. It can also help improve your cognitive ability and reduce your risk of dementia.

“As a lifelong athlete and fitness enthusiast, I understand the value of and feel grateful to have access to gyms and fitness equipment, especially over the last 12 months. For some Americans, though, certain gym or athletic league membership costs can be prohibitive, keeping them from pursuing healthy habits like exercising or participating in other physical activities. By giving Americans greater flexibility with their HSAs and FSAs, we can empower people to make healthy choices, get active, and hopefully avoid the onset of costly chronic conditions.”

PHIT co-sponsor Sen. John Thune [R-SD]

Exercise Delivers or Improves Overall Health Gains

Exercise helps people attain and maintain good metabolic health, lower risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.

Being physically active has numerous benefits to people with substance use disorders.

Physical activity can have a more indirect, positive effect on immune function by mitigating stress. Research out of Carnegie Melon found that people with higher levels of psychological stress were more susceptible to the common cold.

Acute bouts of exercise—less than 60 minutes—enhances the circulation of immunoglobulins, natural killer (NK) cells, T cells, and other immune cells that play critical roles in the body’s defense against pathogens, and can help reduce inflammation.

Resources to Help #PASSPHIT