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SGMA Applauds Announcement of $75.5 Million in PEP Grants in '08

Date: 1/15/08

WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 15, 2008 – The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) is delighted to announce that $75.655 million in PEP (Carol M. White Physical Education Program) grants will be awarded this calendar year (2008). That’s almost $3 million more than was distributed in 2007.

PEP is a competitive grant program managed by the U.S. Department of Education. PEP grants are awarded to schools and community based organizations that provide quality physical education/physical activity programs for America's youth. This funding is a top priority in SGMA’s commitment to provide quality physical education through schools and community based organizations.

For the third consecutive year, Congress rebuffed the President’s desire to eliminate PEP at a time when the U.S. Department of Education’s budget was targeted for cuts.

"The PEP program is a federally funded initiative that has worked since day one and continues to reap health care ‘dividends’ for children in the United States,” said SGMA President Tom Cove. “As our childhood and adult obesity rates continue to climb, programs like PEP need to be implemented to help reverse those trends. Right now, it’s important that we promote a cultural change in America that encourages physically active lifestyles. PEP will inspire the younger generation to be active and more health conscious. If we fail, this country will face a huge health care crisis in the not too distant future.”

Since the initial PEP grants in 2001, nearly $500 million in PEP grants have been awarded to school districts and community based organizations. PEP funds have successfully enhanced K-12 physical education and community based organizations’ physical activity programs across the country. PEP grants are used for training in state-of-the-art health, fitness and wellness-based physical education methods; the addition of new technology such as heart-rate monitors and pedometers; and the acquisition of innovative P.E. equipment such as elliptical machines, treadmills, rock climbing walls, in-line skates, exergames, and stationary bikes.

The integration of new thinking, new products, and new technology form the platform on which today’s quality P.E. programs are built.

The main base of support for PEP is generated by SGMA’s National Health-through-Fitness Day which will take place on Wednesday, March 12 in Washington, D.C. SGMA organizes this day-long lobbying effort which features well known athletes, sporting goods manufacturers, sports retailers, health care leaders, concerned citizens, association leaders, P.E. teachers and other physical education advocates. The goal of this initiative is for SGMA members and P.E. partners/supporters to have one-on-one discussions with members of Congress (on Capitol Hill) about this national fitness issue. SGMA’s key partners in pushing for passage of PEP include PE4life, NASPE, Outdoor Industry Association, IHRSA, NSGA, National Coalition to Promote Physical Activity, and the National Recreation and Parks Association.

When children are given access to PEP-backed P.E. programs in schools, there are many beneficial side effects such as increased academic performance, lower absenteeism in schools, reduced childhood obesity rates, fewer instances of disruptive behavior, and improved retention of information in the classroom.

“For the future of this country, it’s imperative that we invest in improved fitness today or risk a tremendous health care burden in the years to come,” said Bill Sells, SGMA’s director of government relations. “If we ignore the obesity problem, the Center for Disease Control projects healthcare spending in the U.S. will rise to $4 trillion by 2015 (20% of GDP). As a nation, we cannot afford to spend one of every five dollars on health care expenses. If we continue to support initiatives like PEP, it will help America avoid that negative scenario."

Since the PEP Bill was passed by Congress in 2001, more than 1,000 PEP grants have been awarded across the country. In Fiscal Year 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; $73.4 million in FY 2005; $72.7 million in FY 2006; and $72.7 million in FY 2007.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association partners with dmg world media to produce the SGMA Team Sports Show and SGMA Sports Licensing Show. SGMA, the owner of the Sports Research Partnership, is the global business trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry. SGMA enhances industry vitality and fosters sports, fitness, and active lifestyle participation. More information about SGMA can be found at www.sgma.com.

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