Joyce, Gonzalez introduce bill to provide VA with more space for fitness programs

U.S. Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) signed on as original cosponsors of a bipartisan bill that aims to provide the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with more space to operate its preventative health fitness programs for United States military veterans.

“We know that access to proper preventative health fitness programs positively contributes to the physical and mental well-being of our veterans,” Rep. Gonzalez said. “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 healthcare initiatives to take place.”

“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,” Rep. Joyce said. 

The More Opportunities for Veterans to Exercise (MOVE) Act, H.R. 6356, sponsored on Jan. 6 by U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH), would require the General Services Administration to issue regulations allowing the leasing of certain space for such programs, according to the text of the bill.

The VA currently operates numerous preventative health programs to improve the health of veterans by encouraging healthy eating behavior, increasing physical activity, and promoting weight loss, but lacks adequate space to carry out many of the programs on its properties, according to a bill summary provided by the congressmen. 

If enacted, H.R. 6356 would permit the VA to lease more space and would update the definition of ‘preventative health’ to include physical fitness and fitness counseling, the summary says. 

“After asking our service members 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,” said Rep. Joyce. “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.”

H.R. 6356 has been referred for consideration to both the U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.