National Health-through-Fitness Day, organized by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), occurred on March 12, in Washington, DC. Patrick Miles, Director of Retail Sales with SPRI Products, teamed up with a delegation of sporting goods manufacturers, retailers, physical education professionals and prominent athletes (one Heisman Trophy winner; three Olympic gold medalists; members of the Hall of Fame from the NFL, NBA and MLB; and a host of other current and former star athletes) visited members of Congress in support of legislation designed to help Americans become more active and physically fit. The game plan was to have a series of face-to-face discussions with Congress about the importance of federal funding for quality physical education and increasing physical activity for families by making it more accessible and more affordable for all Americans. The group scheduled more than 100 meetings with US Senators and Representatives and an additional 20 meetings with key Congressional staff.
The two programs supported are the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Bill, which provides grants to school districts and community-based organizations to promote physical education programs, and the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act, which promotes active lifestyles by allowing families to deduct physical activity expenses or use pre-tax dollars to pay for them.
"Obesity levels in the US are growing at an alarming rate," said Tom Cove, SGMA's president. "PEP will help provide Americans of all ages with an opportunity to learn about the importance of physical fitness in their daily lives. PHIT will help encourage physical activity in our lives by making it more affordable and available. Adults must incorporate regular exercise into their lifestyle, and the PHIT Act will help them achieve that goal."
Miles met with many congressmen, including Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Illinois and Adrian Smith of Nebraska, working for their support on the legislation.
The great disparity between the amount of money that states spend on treating obesity versus preventing it and promoting healthy lifestyles is really eye-opening. The obesity issue is one that is on our minds every day at SPRI, as we continue to develop new products and education for the fitness industry that are not only low-cost but are effective as well, stated Miles.
Anybody who was unable to attend National Health-through-Fitness Day can get involved in this advocacy effort by contacting their local US Representative and their two US Senators to express their interest in seeing both pieces of legislation get passed.
For 25 years, SPRI Products has been the leading distributor of rubberized resistance exercise products, fitness accessories and exercise education programs for the health and fitness industry. Headquartered in Libertyville, Illinois, SPRI provides professional fitness solutions to health clubs, personal trainers and health-minded consumers via the SPRI website, catalog sales and thousands of retail outlets nationwide. You can find SPRI on the web at www.spriproducts.com.