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SFIA’s 14th National Health Through Fitness Day Kicks Off Next Week

Date: 3/4/13

SFIA Applauds Announcement by First Lady to Get PE in Schools

 SILVER SPRING, MD – March 5, 2013 -- With the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) preparing for its 14th Annual National Health through Fitness Day event next week (March 13) on Capitol Hill, the SFIA is asking the entire industry to go online to advocate for PEP funding and the PHIT Act. The SFIA, working in conjunction with the new PHIT America Campaign, plans to blitz the U.S. Congress with an unprecedented advocacy effort.

Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO, explains the expanded advocacy push. “For 14 years, the SFIA has successfully led the charge to secure funding for the Physical Education Program (PEP).  This year, along with many allied organizations, companies and individuals, we are also making a huge push to pass the revolutionary PHIT Act. The budget battles in Congress present a tough but not insurmountable challenge. Through the PHIT America Alliance and our push within the industry, we need everyone to show Congress our support for PEP and PHIT -- now more than ever. We request everyone go online this week to www.PHITAmerica.org/Advocate where there’s a simple 1-2-3 approach to sending an e-mail letter of support to your local congressman and your state’s two U.S. Senators.”

Late last week, a new coalition led by First Lady Michelle Obama announced support for physical education and PEP. The Let’s Move Active Schools coalition included announcements by the First Lady, U.S. Department of Education, Nike, AAHPERD and others. 

“It is great to see the Let’s Move Active Schools coalition jump in to support physical education and PEP. We applaud their announcements and feel it will help our efforts,” said Jim Baugh, co-founder of the PEP Bill, SFIA board member, and PHIT America leader.  “However, the reality is we are in a tough budget environment and have to get PEP and PHIT passed in Congress. This is why we are making the biggest push ever for all Americans to use our online tools to advocate for PEP and PHIT.”

“We can’t resolve our budget problem without reducing health care spending,” said Bill Sells, SFIA’s vice president of government relations & public affairs.  “We need to value physical health and make it part of our culture.  Cultural change starts with our young people and PEP is the best way to get them to appreciate the benefits of physical activity.  PHIT will provide an incentive to encourage lifelong physical activity to improve health.”   

This week, PHIT America is reaching out to millions of Americans, through its 125 sponsors, with a News Flash, “Urgent! Help Get America Active & Off The Couch! Advocate for PEP & PHIT Now!” The goal is to get millions of Americans to send an email of support to Congress for the PEP and PHIT legislation. Baugh explains that the first and biggest push must come from the sports and fitness industry. “We ask everyone this week to go online to advocate for PEP and PHIT to help those lobbying on Capitol Hill next week. We need to show Congress the great support we have for PEP and PHIT. It only takes one minute. Just go to www.PHITAmerica.org/Advocate, put in your personal information and ‘click’ the send button. Also, have your employees use the same online tool. If everyone does this, it will really help.”



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