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PEP Program Gets 'Shot In The Arm' From Capitol Hill

Date: 4/20/15

Congress Is Playing Its Part to Help Reverse America’s ‘Inactivity Pandemic’

            SILVER SPRING, MD – April 19, 2015 – The PEP program is getting tremendous support from the U.S. Senate.   The U.S. Senate Education Committee has unanimously approved the “Every Child Achieves Act,” which includes a re-authorization of the PEP Program through 2021. 

The Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) provides grants, called PEP grants, to school districts to support innovative physical education methods.

"We couldn’t ask for a stronger endorsement for the PEP program,” says Tom Cove, President/CEO of the SFIA.  “This is truly a validation of the innovative physical education provided around the country through PEP. This is a wonderful reinforcement of the message we have been pushing over the past 15 years on the importance of P.E. in schools.  With PEP being reauthorized with unanimous and bi-partisan support, it shows that our cause is growing."

“As I work Capitol Hill, I have been hearing more and more positive comments about physical education and physical activity as a preventative solution to the healthcare crisis,” says Bill Sells, SFIA’s Vice President of Government Relations. “And now, it is even better that Congress is looking to authorize the PEP program for another six years.” 

“This news on PEP is very gratifying,” says PHIT America Founder Jim Baugh.  “When (SFIA President) Tom Cove and I worked with (the late) Senator Ted Stevens 16 years ago to provide the framework for the PEP Program, who could imagine this would happen!  It is great to see that both the President and now the U.S. Senate realize the benefits of physical education and how PEP is helping to get more children active, fit and healthy.”

While the news about support for PEP is great, the sports and fitness industry’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill must remain strong and steady.

“With this latest news, we can’t be complacent,” adds Baugh.  “We still need to push every Member of Congress to support PEP. Everyone in the sports, fitness, exercise and recreation industry should use the online tool to advocate for PEP. Just use this link. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3."

This congressional action reflects the urgency in our country to address the ‘Inactivity Pandemic,’ and pinpoints the understanding that reaching every child through school-based activity programs must be a priority.  

Why is P.E. so important to all students?  New research, conducted by Focused Fitness and Old Dominion University, showed that participation in an activity-based curricula program resulted in a 39% improvement in fitness levels of more than 1,400 students followed across 4th and 5th grade. The program was implemented in a large school district with PEP grant funding.  And, there’s documented proof that active, fitter children also achieve better academic results in the classroom.

The SFIA and PHIT America will keep the sports, fitness and recreation industry informed of continued support of PEP.  The SFIA and PHIT America are making good progress with passage of the PHIT Act.  As progress is being made, the sports, fitness, and recreation industry will be hearing about these important developments soon.

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