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Dodgeball on the Hill: Saving Physical Play | Commentary

So while each of us takes personal responsibility in our homes, in our schools and in our communities, here’s what Congress can do: Pass legislation and maintain programs that back active kids. Some examples? The Personal Health Investment Today Act, the Promoting Health as Youth Skills in Classrooms and Life Act and the Carol M. White Physical Education Program.

PHIT helps families keep their kids moving by allowing Americans to pay for sports equipment and physical fitness and sports programs with dollars from pre-tax accounts, such as flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts. The PHYSICAL Act rightly elevates PE to a “core subject” under federal law, increasing the odds that it won’t get cut. And PEP provides the only federal funding dedicated to quality physical education so more of our children can grow up enjoying the benefits of movement at school.

When I was a kid running around in my yard, I used to imagine what it would be like to fly — to soar freely. Now that I’m older, I realize I did. Movement — the joy of movement, the freedom of movement — is soaring. It’s a gift.

Congress: It’s time to nurture a culture and national environment where physical activity — physical play — is once again a way of life. We can’t do it without you. Let’s help this generation of kids — and the next, and all of those to come — to know, appreciate and live the joy of movement. It’s a gift too precious to squander. Let’s get moving.

Helen Durkin is the executive vice president of public policy at the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

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