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SGMA Coordinates Congressional Testimony on Youth Fitness

Date: 7/24/08

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 24, 2008 – SGMA invited a pro football great to come to Washington, D.C. to lend a helping hand and he accepted. Former Heisman Trophy winner and ex-NFL All Pro wide receiver Tim Brown came to Capitol Hill today to deliver a serious message: the importance of teaching children about the benefits of good health and physical fitness.

This morning, Brown gave testimony at a congressional hearing entitled “The Benefits of Physical and Health Education for Our Nation’s Children.” The hearing was organized by the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee. The purpose of Brown’s testimony was to highlight the value of physical education in schools and how it promotes student engagement, achievement and health. During his five-minute presentation, Brown revealed the role that sports and fitness have played in his life and why other children would benefit from a similar approach.

“I was fortunate to grow up in a wonderful, supportive and loving family,” said Brown. “I realized early on that many children are not as fortunate and just finding a meal is a daily fight for thousands of youth.”

“It’s dynamic to have a personality like Tim Brown come to Washington to speak out on a topic that has national implications,” said SGMA President Tom Cove. “If we can get our children more focused on fitness and good health, there will be fewer school sick days, fewer visits to the doctor, and a healthier general population.”

“It’s important to establish the importance of good health with our children because recent studies indicate that obese workers have up to 21 percent higher health care costs compared to normal weight employees,” said SGMA Vice President of Government Relations Bill Sells. “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.”

Brown was a witness for a panel which included U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI); U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN); Richard Simmons, fitness expert and advocate; Dr. Russell Pate, associate vice president for health sciences and professor at the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina; Lori Rose Benson, director of fitness and physical education for the New York City Department of Education; Robert M. Keiser, student advisor to Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Health.

The U.S. House Education and Labor Committee has 48 members – 27 Democrats and 21 Republicans. The Chair of the Committee is U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA).

Brown has visited Washington, D.C. before in support of youth fitness issues. On many occasions this decade, Brown has attended SGMA’s National Health-through-Fitness Day which is held each spring in Washington, D.C. During National Health-through-Fitness Day, a delegation of well known athletes, sporting goods manufacturers, sports retailers, concerned citizens, physical educators and association leaders visit Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress to encourage passage of legislation that will help Americans (of all ages) become more physically fit.

Brown, who won the Heisman Trophy while at Notre Dame in 1987 and later spent more than 15 years in the NFL, is now busy working with children from underserved communities. He is the national chairman of Athletes & Entertainers for Kids, which provides guidance and advice to more than five million children and teenagers. He is also the spokesperson for 911 for Kids, the nation’s official educational program teaching the proper use of 911. Brown’s signature mentoring program is his “Mentor Mini Camp,” which is held each fall for 100 fatherless boys.

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