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Over 125 Congressional Meetings Held During SFIA’s National Health through Fitness Day

Date: 3/14/13

Click here to view photos from the event: www.sfia.org/nhtf13pics

The Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s 14th Annual National Health Through Fitness Day (March 13; Washington, DC) achieved record success with nearly 150 industry leaders asking Congress for support of two pieces of legislation that will help “Get America Moving to Improve Health.”  In all, there were more than 125 Congressional meetings on Capitol Hill this past Wednesday.

"It’s so important to be involved in an event and cause like ‘National Health Through Fitness Day,” said former U.S. Women’s Soccer legend Mia Hamm (Gatorade).  “As an athlete, I know the importance of physical activity and the role it plays in a healthy lifestyle. It’s up to us to raise awareness and make it a part of every American's life."
The SFIA, working in conjunction with the new PHIT America campaign, arrived on Capitol Hill on Wednesday with an unprecedented advocacy effort that was geared at helping get Americans more active and becoming healthier by promoting two important pieces of legislation: the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant and the PHIT Act, which would expand eligible reimbursement expenses from pre-tax accounts to cover physical activity costs.
“I challenge the U.S. Congress to do right thing and support this legislation,” said football legend Herschel Walker (Franklin Sports), the honorary chairman of National Health Through Fitness Day.  “Having a P.E. class in my hometown of Wrightsville, Georgia gave me the confidence to become a great student.  Nowadays, young people deserve the same chances that I had as a child.  As a country, we owe it to ourselves to pass this legislation.”
“It’s always great when a member of Congress recognizes the importance of physical education and physical activity,” said Bill Sells, SFIA Vice President of Government Affairs. “There’s no doubt that PEP and PHIT would help to create a healthier country that isn’t so dependent on healthcare. The SFIA staff and I are extremely grateful to all the sponsors and member companies that were involved to make this event a success.”
The SFIA recognized Congressional members Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) with its Congressional Health & Fitness Award for their “promotion of healthy and active lifestyles in America.”  Olympic middle distance runner and 2011 1,500m World Champion Jenny Simpson (New Balance) was awarded the SFIA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her lifelong commitment to promoting physical education and active lifestyles in America.
“I’m here because my elementary teacher introduced me to sports,” said Simpson.  “That coach set me on a course that influenced me the rest of my life.  PEP and PHIT are common-sense legislation.”
The celebrity athlete delegation also included former National League MVP Jeff Kent (Easton); current Baltimore Ravens/Super Bowl winning wide receiver Torrey Smith (Under Armour); LPGA great Lorena Ochoa (PING); Major League Lacrosse star Paul Rabil (Warrior); four-time Olympic water polo medalist Heather Petri (USA Water Polo); 2012 Olympic beach volleyball silver medalist April Ross (Mizuno); undefeated heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder (Everlast); four-time NFL All-Pro linebacker Ken Harvey; former NFL defensive back John Booty; and former U.S. Soccer National Team player Taylor Twellman (MC10).

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