WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) joined Representative Shontel Brown (OH-11) in introducing her first bill in Congress, the More Opportunities for Veterans to Exercise (MOVE) Act. This bipartisan legislation aims to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) ability to provide former service members with access to preventative health fitness programs. Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16) and Colin Allred (TX-32) are also original co-sponsors of the bill.
“I’m proud to join my fellow Buckeye, Congresswoman Brown, in introducing the MOVE Act,” said Rep. Joyce. “Fitness training and counseling are critical to securing greater health outcomes for our veterans, who are at high risk for preventable diseases like Type 2 Diabetes. After asking our servicemembers to risk their lives to protect our country, we have the responsibility to ensure they have what they need to live healthy, happy, and successful lives when they return home. This bipartisan bill will help us do just that by ensuring the VA has the space and flexibility necessary to provide our nation’s heroes with important preventative health programs.”
“We owe it our nation’s veterans to ensure they have access to the very best health care we can provide,” said Rep. Brown. “The MOVE Act would help the VA enroll more veterans into preventative health fitness programs that promote physical and mental health, prevent disease, and improve quality of life for our brave former servicemembers. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Congressmen Allred, Gonzalez, and Joyce to ensure more veterans in Ohio and across the country can participate in physical fitness programs and fitness counseling services.”
“We know that access to proper preventative health fitness programs positively contributes to the physical and mental well-being of our veterans. As the VA currently lacks ample space to host these programs, I am glad to join my colleagues in introducing a bill that will provide areas for these important health care initiatives to take place,” said Rep. Gonzalez.
“Veterans deserve the best, and easy access to all the tools they need to live healthy, productive lives,” said Rep. Allred. “This bipartisan bill will help the VA provide weight loss, exercise and healthy living resources so veterans can get the assistance they need from their local VA, including here in North Texas. As a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I will always work with folks in both parties to get our veterans the help and benefits they have earned.”
The VA currently operates a variety of preventative health programs designed to improve the health of veterans by encouraging healthy eating behavior, increasing physical activity, and promoting weight loss. While these preventative health initiatives have demonstrated success (enrolling over 650,000 individuals who have lost a combined 2,000,000 pounds), the VA lacks adequate space to carry out many of the fitness programs on its properties.
The MOVE Act enables the VA to lease space for the purpose of preventative health fitness and updates the definition of preventative health to include physical fitness and fitness counseling.