Youth sports are vital to keeping children in shape and active, providing them with safe and enjoyable activities that reduce time spent playing video games or sitting around.
Unfortunately, they cost a lot more than they did years ago, preventing some parents from letting their children play sports due to lacking the funds to do so. Experts state that in 2015, 81.6 million people across all age groups were inactive, contributing to a sedentary culture and nationwide obesity trend. Some of these inactive people were sitting around in part due to the aforementioned lack of funds, experts say. A report indicates that 43 percent of parents reported an increase from 2014 in sports fees paid to schools and that since 2013, 67 percent of parents, on average, spend more than $100 on their children’s sports fees, with 28.5 percent paying more than $200. The statistics are proof that youth sports participation is down and we must encourage our kids to play.
This correlation between cost of participation and inactivity can be shown even more clearly thanks to another figure: 32.1 percent of those in families earning between $25,000 and $49,999 per year are inactive compared to 18.7 percent of those making $100,000 or more.
This is unfortunate, as everybody should be able to participate in sports, not just those with excess money. In order to combat this lack of affordable sports, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association s promoting the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act, a bill introduced to the House of Representatives in March of 2015.
The PHIT Act, which is sponsored by Rep. Charles Boustany, calls for tax deductions being made available to those who spend money on “qualified sports or fitness expenses.” This would allow those who are of fewer means to be able to spend their money on sports without needing to worry about the money being needed elsewhere.
Although there are some who are opposed to the Act, indicating by their actions that they deem youth sports unimportant, there are many more who realize what an important step this could be toward providing affordable sports options and keeping children in shape. It is of great importance that the rising obesity epidemic be combated, and getting this Act to pass would be a great step in the right direction.