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25+ Sponsors & 15 Celebritiy Athletes Headline SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day

Date: 1/23/09

NHTF Day 2009 Logo

Football Great Herschel Walker and Tennis Legend Stan Smith Lead the Way
Active Network is the Latest Sponsor
Lobby Effort on March 4 Will Increase Sport & Fitness Participation and Industry Revenues 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 22, 2009 – More than 100 leaders from organizations in the sports and fitness industries – from Accusplit to Gatorade to Nike -- are planning to be on Capitol Hill in March to speak with Congress about more support for ways to “Get America Moving”. The event is SGMA’s 10th National Health Through Fitness Day and it’s scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 4 in Washington, D.C. 

On National Health Through Fitness Day, a delegation of well known athletes, sporting goods and fitness manufacturers, sports retailers, concerned citizens, physical educators and association leaders will visit Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress to encourage passage of two legislative initiatives that will help Americans (of all ages) become more physically fit:

(1)  Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Bill, which provides grants to school districts and community based organizations to support innovative physical education and activity methods;

(2)  Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act, which will encourage improved health through increased physical activity for all Americans by making it more affordable to play sports and engage in physical fitness and recreation activities -- through the use of tax incentives. 

Leading the delegation from the sporting goods industry will be former NFL running back/U.S. Olympic bobsledder/1982 Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker – the Honorary Chairman of National Health Through Fitness Day.  Other celebrities that day will include 1972 U.S. Open tennis champ Stan Smith; 1987 Heisman Trophy winner and NFL great Tim Brown; 9-time UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes; and 1989 World Series MVP Dave Stewart.  More than 10 other sports and fitness celebrities are pledged to attend this year’s event.

“Recent studies indicate that obese workers have up to 21 percent higher health care costs compared to normal weight employees,” said SGMA President Tom Cove.  “Also, about 39 million days of work each year are lost due to obesity.  By lowering obesity rates, we will reduce absenteeism in the workplace and improve productivity.”

For the PEP Bill, this consortium will ask Congress to provide $100 million for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010.  The SGMA will schedule meetings with more than 100 U.S. Senators and Representatives that day.  In FY 2001, the PEP Bill was approved for $5 million.  In FY 2002, Congress allotted $50 million; $60 million in FY 2003; $70 million in FY 2004; $73 million in FY 2005; $73 million in FY 2006; $73 million in FY 2007; $75.7 million in FY 2008; and $78 million in FY 2009.  To date, more than $500 million in PEP Bill grants have been distributed across the country by the U.S. Department of Education. 

The PHIT Act would change current federal tax law to allow for the deduction or use of pre-tax dollars to cover expenses related to sports, fitness and other physical activities. Americans could invest up to $1,000 annually to pay for physical activities by investing money in existing pre-tax Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Medical Savings Accounts (MSA), and/or medical reimbursement arrangements.  PHIT would only expand the eligible expenses.  It would not increase contribution limits to these accounts.  Once an individual or family spends 7.5% of their income on qualified medical expenses, they could deduct physical activity expenses directly.

The highest level sponsor of National Health Through Fitness Day, to date, is the Active Network, which has agreed to be a Special Event sponsor.

“Active is a perfect partner for National Health through Fitness Day,” said SGMA President Tom Cove.   “The Active Network is the leading online registration company in the industry which allows millions of people to register for activity based programs.  Active’s mission to grow sport and fitness participation and SGMA’s National Health Through Fitness Day is doing the same thing. We are delighted to have Active as a partner.”

There are more than 25 companies and organizations which are sponsors of National Health Through Fitness Day.  They include Accusplit, Active Network, Century Martial Arts, Cramer Products, Disney, Easton, Everlast, Franklin Sports, Gatorade, General Mills, Head Sports, HOPSports, Mizuno, NFL Players, National Sporting Goods Association, Nike, Polar, Pop Warner Football, Prince, Rawlings Sporting Goods, Reebok, Russell Athletic, Sportime, SGMA’s Legal Task Force, Tennis Industry Association, Under Armour, and Wilson Sporting Goods.  Sponsorship opportunities are still available by contacting SGMA’s Mike May -- 561.317.6111 or mmay@sgma.com.

The entire sports and fitness industry is invited to attend. There is no registration fee. Just click here to register and for hotel reservations.  Limited rooms are available at the central hotel, The Embassy Suites Washington, D.C. Convention Center (900 10th Street, NW; Washington, D.C.; 202.739.2001).
The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by fostering participation through research, thought leadership, product promotion, and public policy.  More information about SGMA membership, SGMA's Sports Research Partnership, and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com

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