Fitness Industry Provides Free Health Club Memberships to Military Families as Part of Joining Forces and Let's Move! Initiatives
WASHINGTON, May 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Executives from the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) joined First Lady Michelle Obama on the South Lawn of the White House today to announce the launch of the IHRSA Joining Forces Network—an affiliation of health clubs throughout the country that will offer free memberships to immediate family members of actively deployed reservists and National Guard members.* The announcement took place at a health and wellness event for military families hosted by Mrs. Obama which combined the Joining Forces and Let's Move initiatives.
Joining Forces is a comprehensive national initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned. Let's Move! is also a comprehensive initiative launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams.
"The freedoms that each of us enjoys every day are possible because of the sacrifices that our nation's military families bear," said Joe Moore, IHRSA's President and CEO. "Joining Forces offers us an opportunity to provide these families with the support they are due."
The IHRSA Joining Forces Network hopes to offer at least 100,000 free health club memberships throughout the country—the equivalent of more than 18 million days of free access to health clubs and an estimated value of more than $30 million.
Clubs also may provide additional benefits, such as childcare, children's programming, group classes, discounts for veterans, and discounts for active duty families.
"Rooted in communities all across America, IHRSA health clubs stand ready to serve our nation's military families," said Moore. "We are here to offer them safe, supportive environments where they can exercise and find encouragement in their efforts to stay well through healthy lifestyle choices. We are deeply honored to be part of the Joining Forces and Let's Move! initiatives."
Beginning June 1st, eligible military families can find participating clubs in their area online at www.healthclubs.com. The website also offers a free digital subscription to Get Active! Magazine, a consumer resource dedicated to promoting the benefits of safe and effective exercise, and offers useful advice on making healthy lifestyle choices.
Moore also noted that IHRSA is particularly excited about the opportunity that these free memberships will provide for the teenaged children of deployed reservists and National Guard members, who will now have access to positive health club environments where they can stay physically active and feel supported in making smart lifestyle choices. IHRSA has been an outspoken supporter of the Let's Move! initiative since its inception.
IHRSA is a not-for-profit trade association representing health and fitness facilities, gyms, spas, sports clubs, and suppliers worldwide. IHRSA is committed to taking a leadership role in advancing physical activity, which is critical to America's health and the battle against obesity and disease. IHRSA supports effective national initiatives to promote more active lifestyles for all Americans and is working to pass laws that will help affect societal changes toward a more fit America.
IHRSA is a co-chair of the Business & Industry Sector of the National Physical Activity Plan; a proud supporter of The First Lady's Let's Move! initiative, America's Move to Raise A Healthier Generation of Kids; a member of the advisory board of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD); a founding member of the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA); a partner with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in promoting the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines; a network member of the Exercise is Medicine™ initiative; was a primary participant in the launch of the Adult Fitness Test introduced by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition; has helped the HHS Office on Women's Health in promoting National Women's Health Week, National Women's Check-Up Day, and the Woman Challenge; partnered with the President's Council in 1995 on the three-year "Get Up, Get Out" public awareness campaign focusing on youth fitness; was one of the earliest proponents of the PEP legislation (Carol M. White Physical Education Program); and recently introduced the publication, "The Economic Benefits of Regular Exercise." Through its member clubs, IHRSA has offered community outreach and health promotion programs since 1986, including Commit to Get Fit, Families Involved Together, Teen Fitness Connection, I Lost It at the Club!, and Get Active America!
* Age restrictions may apply.
For more information on the benefits of exercise, visit http://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/guidelines/chapter2.aspx.
SOURCE International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association