U.S. Policy Positions

2024 United States Policy Positions

Essential Business:
The Health & Fitness Association advocates for policies that recognize the essential and indispensable role of the health and fitness industry in promoting the mental and physical well-being of Americans, while also driving economic growth. By prioritizing access to fitness facilities, programs, and resources, these policies empower individuals to proactively manage their health, reducing the burden on healthcare systems and preventing chronic diseases.

Incentives for Physical Activity:
The Health & Fitness Association advocates for policies that prioritize both incentivizing exercise and reducing financial barriers to accessing health and fitness facilities. We champion legislation aimed at dismantling financial obstacles to physical activity by endorsing tax incentives that motivate individuals to embrace healthy, active lifestyles. These incentives not only benefit individuals but also contribute to reducing healthcare costs for taxpayers, employers, and the healthcare system overall. Additionally, we oppose any sales tax applied to the purchase of health and fitness facility memberships, classes, or similar expenses. Instead of increasing costs through the tax code, we believe governments should actively encourage regular exercise to promote physical and mental health, prevent and manage chronic diseases, and combat infectious diseases. Through these combined efforts, we strive to make fitness facilities more accessible and support individuals in achieving their wellness goals.

Consumer Protection Statute Modernization:
The Health & Fitness Association supports the proactive modernization and unification of state consumer protection statutes that safeguard fitness facility members and consumers against fraud, deceit, and financial hardship while fostering and encouraging competition, fair dealing, and prosperity in the health and fitness industry. We are currently developing model legislation that will address issues relevant to health and fitness facilities in 2024, including cancellation options, automatic renewal policies, bonding requirements, price transparency, cooling-off periods, and other issues important to consumers and operators.

Online Agreement Termination:
The Health & Fitness Association understands the intent of legislation aimed at simplifying the membership cancellation process and works to ensure it is done in a business tenable way; clearly defining that "cancellation" means the initiation of termination, accompanied by reminders of agreement terms, exclusive application to memberships entered into online, ensuring flexibility in cancellation methods and placement on websites, and an adequate implementation timeframe providing ample ability to comply with transformative changes.

Labor Policy:
The Health & Fitness Association opposes labor-focused laws and regulations that overlook the diverse operational structures within the health and fitness industry, encompassing independent operators, franchisors, and franchisees. Such measures unreasonably hinder the ability of health and fitness facilities to offer communities a broad and flexible spectrum of job opportunities and avenues for physical activity. The Association advocates for policies that acknowledge and support the diverse and flexible operating models within our industry.

Liability Protections:
The Health & Fitness Association opposes policies that infringe on fitness facilities' use of liability protections. We advocate for common sense product liability reform to prevent holding of manufacturers and operators unfairly liable for injuries resulting from a person's activity, especially when the injury was not reasonably foreseeable or when the person's actions contributed to the injury. Additionally, we support efforts to shield the health and fitness industry from excessive and predatory litigation, ensuring that facilities can operate without undue legal or insurance burdens and continue promoting safe and healthy environments for all patrons–including the importance of parental rights in signing waivers on behalf of children.

Cash Currency Acceptance:
The Health & Fitness Association advocates for exemption from retail cash acceptance requirements, recognizing the unique membership model operational structure of fitness businesses, which rely on stored payment methods. On-premises retail sales are often ancillary to those memberships rendering traditional cash transactions impractical. Enforcing cash acceptance mandates places undue financial burden on fitness facilities, necessitating additional expenses for staff training, security measures, and banking services. These requirements not only disrupt the efficient operation of fitness businesses but also detract from resources that could be allocated towards enhancing member experience and promoting wellness initiatives.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Requirements:
The Health & Fitness Association advocates for AED legislation that prioritizes the safety of fitness facility users while ensuring financial viability and flexibility. This includes necessary liability protection for businesses, encompassing both the use and non-use of AEDs, along with appropriate training requirements. We emphasize the importance of flexibility to operate facilities without staff present and clear guidance on the number of AEDs needed at each site. Additionally, we advocate for adequate time for compliance and sufficient financial support to offset the cost of purchasing government-mandated medical devices, thus ensuring that fitness facilities can effectively implement these measures without undue burden and risk of liability.

Music and Entertainment Licensing:
The Health & Fitness Association underscores its commitment to compliance with music licensing requirements, acknowledging the rights of music copyright holders to fair compensation for the public performance of their works. However, we advocate for robust federal policies that ensure transparency in various aspects of music licensing, including Performing Rights Organization (PRO) legitimacy, catalog ownership, and pricing structures. It is imperative to address concerns regarding predatory pursuit of fees and ensure that pricing remains fair and transparent for fitness facilities.

US Policy Position Development

The National Health & Fitness Alliance (NHFA) is responsible for crafting essential pillars to steer The Health & Fitness Association’s federal and state advocacy program. The Association's advocacy—both proactive and reactive—encompasses various pillars, serving as guiding principles for evaluating and approaching engagement on behalf of the industry.

As issues emerge, The Health & Fitness Association takes proactive steps to either support or oppose and communicate the industry’s position as a unified voice. NHFA will serve as the exclusive policy committee tasked with formulating industry positions, which will subsequently undergo submission to and ratification by The Health & Fitness Association Board of Directors.