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PEP Funds Will Continue To Promote Quality P.E. for American Children

SILVER SPRING, MD – May 16, 2011 – Despite the threat of massive federal budget cuts which threatened the continuation of the Carol M. White Physical Education Program, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) is delighted to announce that the PEP program remains alive and well.  This afternoon, it was announced by the U.S. Department of Education that PEP will receive $78,842,000 in funding for PEP for Fiscal Year 2011.  That’s just 0.2% less than the federal government approved in FY 2010.

PEP is a competitive grant program managed by the U.S. Department of EducationPEP grants are awarded to schools and community based organizations that provide quality physical education/physical activity programs for America’s youth.  This funding is a top priority in SGMA’s commitment to provide quality physical education through schools and community based organizations.

“This is tremendous news and SGMA applauds the Department of Education for understanding the value of the PEP legislation,” said SGMA President Tom Cove.  “As our childhood and adult obesity rates continue to climb, programs like PEP need to be implemented to help reverse those trends.  Right now, it’s important that we promote a cultural change in America that encourages physically active lifestyles.  PEP will inspire the younger generation to be active and more health conscious.”

Since the initial PEP grants in 2001, more than $600 million in PEP grants have been awarded to school districts and community based organizations.  PEP funds have successfully enhanced K-12 physical education and community based organizations’ physical activity programs across the country.  PEP grants are used for training in state-of-the-art health, fitness and wellness-based physical education methods; the addition of new technology such as heart-rate monitors and pedometers; and the acquisition of innovative P.E. equipment such as elliptical machines, treadmills, rock climbing walls, in-line skates, exergames, and stationary bikes.

The integration of new thinking, new products, and new technology form the platform on which today’s quality P.E. programs are built.

The main base of support for PEP is generated by SGMA’s National Health Through Fitness Day which took place on Wednesday, March 2 in Washington, D.C.  SGMA organized this day-long lobbying effort which features well known athletes, sporting goods manufacturers, health care leaders, association leaders, P.E. teachers and other physical education advocates.   The goal of this initiative is for SGMA members and P.E. partners/supporters to have one-on-one discussions with members of Congress (on Capitol Hill) about the national fitness issue.

“When children are given access to PEP-backed P.E. programs in schools, there are many beneficial side effects such as increased academic performance, lower absenteeism, reduced childhood obesity rates, fewer instances of disruptive behavior, and improved retention of information in the classroom,” said SGMA’s Vice President of Government Relations Bill Sells.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by promoting favorable public policies, fostering participation through research, thought leadership and product promotion.  More information about SGMA membership, SGMA public policy platform, and SGMA’s National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com

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